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Friday, 24 October 2014

Cumbria university gears up to launch business centre project

The University of Cumbria’s plans for a Business Interaction Centre (BIC) in Carlisle are close to fruition.

Ewan Pullan photo
Ewan Pullan

The development, to be housed in mothballed buildings in Paternoster Row, is billed as a “high-profile entry point” for firms and individuals seeking to tap into the university’s expertise in business.

A formal launch is planned for November.

Services will include:

  • Short courses in IT, marketing, exporting, finance, accounting, diversity and equality, and human resources;
  • Accredited courses including MBA, MA in business management, postgraduate certificate in computing and IT and BA (Hons) in retail marketing management;
  • Support for students who want to start their own business;
  • A business incubation unit with desk space, office space, reception facilities and advice;
  • A work placement service to match graduates and undergraduates with employers;
  • Consultancy and research.

The BIC will be part of the University of Cumbria Business School and incorporate its highly-regarded Centre for Regional Economic Development.

The university announced its intention to set up a BIC as part of plans to revamp the business school to make it more responsive to the demands of industry and improve its international reputation.

Stephen Bulman, associate dean for business, said: “We are talking to micro businesses about taking space in the building and we have devoted some space for relatively new start-ups and local businesses to use.

“The university is part of the Cumbria Growth Hub, which will also give businesses access to student and graduate placements, as well as academics to work alongside them on projects.”

The BIC will host quarterly meetings for Creative Cumbria and bi-monthly meetings for Code Cumbria to support the creative and tech sectors. Businesses using the facilities will be able to take advantage of a super-fast 100 megabits per second internet connections that have been installed.

Dr Bulman added: “We want to find a workspace where our students and new and existing SMEs (small and medium enterprises) can find common ground and take inspiration from each other.

“Businesses and policy makers will be able to meet at BIC to discuss economic challenges with speakers looking at economics of city centres, as well as how the 2014 changes in European regional policy impact on Cumbria.”

The BIC will be run by Ewan Pullan who previously led a team to ensure the successful delivery of the European Regional Development Fund’s ‘Unite with Business' project.

This helped small and medium-sized businesses in Cumbria and north Lancashire innovate and boost performance and productivity, and enhanced the employability of students and graduates.

Before that Mr Pullan was head of faculty administration for three years.

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