Dr Dave Chapman is the UCL Principal Investigator for the Europe-wide consortium of universities and research institutes who are launching OPENISME, a new initiative designed to improve access for small businesses to the expertise that can boost their growth.
Staff from UCL Advances, UCL’s centre for entrepreneurship, are also involved in the initiative which aims to increase the number and diversity of partnerships between SMEs and universities across Europe. The project will address the challenges that many small businesses face in bringing new products and services to market quickly, particularly those requiring specialised technology and expertise.
“Frequently, many small businesses are completely unaware of how universities can support them in their growth aspirations,” says Dave Chapman, Deputy Head of UCL’s Department of Management Science and Innovation. “Along with the difficulties of accessing short-term expertise at a critical point in product development, many small businesses are failing to grow as fast as they could, with knock-on impacts for job creation and wider economic growth.”
OPENISME will foster the creation of ‘Open Innovation’ partnerships between SMEs and research institutions across Europe, ranging across Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Italy and France, through both outreach at partner institutions and the development of a dedicated online portal to enable small businesses to outline their needs to the universities taking part and guide them to the support they need to grow their business.
“Our aim is to develop a portal which will enable small businesses from across Europe to benefit from the expertise that universities can offer,” says Dave Chapman. “Smaller businesses have the highest potential for growth and the potential to make a huge impact on the economy as a result – and, through being more agile, flexible and innovative with the right support, they have the potential to make a significant contribution to Europe’s prosperity in years to come.”