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    Posted 30 October 2001

    HARPER ADAMS University College has been awarded £806,000 for a three-year programme of projects aimed at supporting business growth and diversification.

    This large award is the result of a successful bid to the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and £806,000 is one of the largest sums given to a single university institution anywhere in the country.

    Only Cranfield University and the Universities of Nottingham, Luton and Cambridge have received more – a significant achievement that will allow the University College, near Newport, Shropshire, to develop a series of Business Clubs.

    Four Business Clubs will be set up on the back of successful projects already pioneered by Harper Adams. Each project will employ a project officer to develop and deliver training and consultancy products to help the growth and business success of its members.

    Business Clubs will be set up for the Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) initiative, food-based Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Midlands, On-Farm Composting and for Convalescent And Recuperative Environment (CARE). The Clubs will concentrate on helping the growth of small and medium sized companies, including business start-ups.

    The award also includes funding for the support and growth of the Business Clubs and this will include the development of a marketing database and promotional activities.

    Eric Howell, who coordinated the bid for Harper Adams, said: “To get the top award among all the Universities in the West Midlands is a great achievement for the college.

    “It reflects the work already put in by Harper staff in helping rural businesses diversify with new business ideas. The college is in a strong position to take a lead in rural recovery following the bad news in recent years.”

    Harper Adams’ Principal Professor Wynne Jones commented: “The size of the award reflects the key role of Harper Adams in helping the diversification of businesses in the rural economy and the food industry.

    “We may think of the award as placing Harper Adams clearly as a five star institution for its work with business and the community.”

    HEIF is the third strand of the Higher Education Reach Out to Business and the Community (HEROBaC) funding, put in place by the government to help link universities and industry. Harper Adams has successfully bid for funding from each of the three strands.

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