Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Network (KEEN)

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A Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Network (KEEN) is an ERDF* part-funded regional business growth programme.

If you’re a West Midlands based SME, a KEEN can help you achieve your business development goals by providing you with the cutting-edge skills of a high calibre recent graduate, working full-time within your organisation, on an agreed strategic business project. 

A KEEN programme can also benefit your business growth objectives by giving you access to the knowledge and experience of Birmingham City University’s academic experts and business specialists as they support and guide the Graduate throughout the KEEN business project.

As a West Midlands based SME, a KEEN project, in partnership with Birmingham City University, can help you increase your competitive edge, profitability and business growth potential. Your KEEN project could start within weeks of your initial enquiry.

Benefits to your business  

  • You will receive the additional support your business needs to successfully achieve your agreed business growth project objectives
  • You will receive a high calibre Graduate (KEEN Affiliate) to work full-time within your business for the duration of the agreed project
  • You will access the knowledge and skills of academic experts, business specialists and researchers at Birmingham City University
  • Your KEEN project will be part-funded by ERDF
  • You could also gain additional business funding for equipment (aligned to the KEEN project)
  • You could also access business funding for your Graduate to research and network at project relevant business events
  • Your KEEN project could be up and running within a few weeks of your initial enquiry

What is a Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Partnership (KEEN)?

Your Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Network partnership with Birmingham City University will be a business growth collaboration between your company, a high calibre, recent Graduate, the academic experts and specialists at the University, and ERDF, who provide part of the funding for the project. The purpose of KEEN is to drive business growth amongst SMEs within the West Midlands.

How does a KEEN work?

Your business becomes part of a KEEN partnership with Birmingham City University and a recently qualified Graduate (KEEN Affiliate) who is skilled within the area of project focus. Collectively you will define the project goals based on your business requirements.

The KEEN Affiliate becomes your full-time employee, embedded within your business for the length of the project. You KEEN Affiliate will be supported by the academic expertise and business specialists at Birmingham City University.

The KEEN affiliate will lead the project, be responsible for driving its strategic development and success and will manage the KEEN business partnership between you and Birmingham City University.

How long is a KEEN project

Typically a KEEN  project lasts between 6 and 24 months. The length of your KEEN with Birmingham City University will depend on your business needs and project requirements.

Will my KEEN receive funding?

Your KEEN project with Birmingham City University will be part-funded by ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). Birmingham City University will help you secure your KEEN project funding.

Additional KEEN business funding can be accessed if you require more than one KEEN project to achieve your business goals.

What will a KEEN project cost me?

A KEEN will give you access to ERDF business funding, which will pay for a percentage of the Affiliate’s salary and business travel for the duration of the project. The remainder will be a cost to your business.

The amount your business will need to contribute will depend on the size of your organisation and the scale and length of your project.

Typically a 12 month KEEN would cost a business approximately £16.040.00 (based upon a 12 month project with the salary costs of approximately £19K). The salary of the Affiliate can be flexed and is agreed with you (the salary for a KEEN Affiliate is between 17K – 24K ).

There is flexibility around the Affiliate’s salary range allowing all parties to agree on an appropriate salary for the length of the project.

How soon can I start a KEEN?

A KEEN partnership with Birmingham City University could start within weeks of your initial enquiry.

To discover how a KEEN can drive innovation and business growth for your business or organisation:

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