Scale Up 4 Growth (S4G) has won best External Knowledge Exchange (KE) Initiative of the Year at the KE Awards 2019. S4G is a three-year, free programme of support for businesses in the West of England (WoE) that are looking to grow, expand and scale up. The £2.7m programme was designed by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The KE Awards, organised by PraxisAuril – the UK's world-leading professional association for Knowledge Exchange (KE) practitioners – and sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), celebrate the contribution of KE professionals in enabling and facilitating the societal and economic impact of research.
The S4G team beat the University of Manchester for its Manchester Law and Technology Initiative and the University of Kent for its Employability Points Scheme to claim the prize.
The programme is delivered by the unique S4G Partnership of UWE Bristol (lead), NatWest's Entrepreneur Accelerator and Corporate and Commercial Banking Teams, and Foot Anstey LLP.
Tracey John, Director of Research Business and Innovation (RBI) at UWE Bristol said: "We are extremely proud of the S4G programme, the valued Partnership we have created with NatWest and Foot Anstey, and our impact on the West of England's scaling businesses in the regional economy."
Nathan Peacey, Partner at Foot Anstey said: "It's fantastic to see S4G recognised as a standout example of university and business working in partnership. We have a huge amount to gain by working with exciting growth businesses and we have been delighted to support them on this journey through sharing our expertise and experience.
"This collaboration is another great example of how businesses are successfully working together to raise the South West's profile as being at the forefront of tech and innovation and build the regional economy."
Matt Hatcher, NatWest Director of Corporate and Commercial Coverage, South West, said: "As a bank we're hugely committed to supporting the growth of entrepreneurism in the region and helping more start-up and scale-up businesses achieve success. Collaboration and innovation is key, which is why we are delighted with the success of the S4G scheme. It is making a real impact and along with our Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub in Bristol, helping support the rich vein of talent we have in the West of England achieve national and international success."
Olly Reid, Scale Acceleration Manager at NatWest, said: "Through our accelerator programme we're working with hundreds of exciting start-up and scale-up businesses from across the region in multiple sectors.
"The cross-team collaboration involved with working with the team at UWE and our corporate and commercial team at NatWest has allowed us to develop a really exciting programme that is crucially expanding the network of opportunities available to local businesses. This is where the success of S4G lies and why we hope more local entrepreneurs will benefit in the years ahead."
Since its launch in November 2018, over 300 businesses have joined the S4G network and benefit from the programme. S4G is the latest in a series of projects led by UWE Bristol to support innovative high growth businesses in the West of England. These projects have supported hundreds of businesses across the region and created over 1,000 new jobs.