This week, we chatted to Stephen Roberts, Business Gateway Manager at Keele University, about the support available for small businesses – and how we can adapt to survive the COVID19 outbreak.
Gateway is the route in to the University to access our range of ERDF, academic and graduate employment programmes. My role includes signposting and assisting businesses to access the right programme or project for their needs; organising business facing events at the SIH and across the university and, most recently, focussing now on online events.
Support for small business at Keele
The university through the SIH is able to support new and start up businesses through its Entrepreneurial Bootcamp programme, assist businesses with innovation and low carbon projects through the Innovation & Research and Smart Energy Network Demonstrator programmes. For the more ‘mature’ businesses our Innovation Leadership programme assists organisations to grow.
The Keele employability team works closely with employers, organisations and industry to place graduates with businesses and provide apprenticeship opportunities.
How can SMEs adapt to survive the COVID19 outbreak?
The climate pre-covid-19 proved to be brimming with new and exciting business ideas and a general positivity in the entrepreneurial business world.
‘What we have more of at the moment is thinking time’
The current climate has proved to be extremely challenging for businesses, clouded by uncertainty. What we have more of at the moment is thinking time, this is an opportunity to re-think how your business model works. Read articles and journals on the businesses that are thriving in the current crisis. Many of these are providing digital and virtual solutions. How can a business adapt some of these innovations to suit their own purposes, and ultimately survive? Even more radical how can a business re-purpose what they already do to fit the current position? I recently read about a local gin distillers that have started producing hand sanitizers to help meet demand, sanitizer formulas include alcohol, hence the connection.
Three constructive things you can do right now:
- Review your current model
- Remodel or repurpose accordingly
- Start to implement change!
Mentors are an excellent and valuable resource for any new businesses. To be able to draw on the experiences, successes and failures of a mentor can only help a new business in its approach and ability to move forward and grow.
I don’t believe there are enough mentoring opportunities for new businesses to take advantage of, the problem being most successful businesses owners simply do not have the time.
Read more of our advice for entrepreneurs and SME’s here: