FUSION is a programme for Entrepreneurs seeking to start, change and grow while taking into consideration the environmental and social impact of their business. The project has a total value of €5 million and is co-funded by the European Union via the Interreg IV A 2 seas programme
Under the Interreg IV Seas EU programme, Kent Innovation and Enterprise worked in collaboration with Kent County Council and other partner organisations to develop new methods of supporting start-up companies and SME’s.
The main objective of the project was to support long term growth of SME’s and to break barriers to success that occur at every stage of a business life cycle by adopting new sustainable business models and breaking barriers to European markets by providing cross-border support. We aimed to provide our start-up companies with the necessary expertise, know-how and skills to achieve sustainability in every aspect of their activity by adopting a ‘Lean’ approach. The project engaged with a wide variety of companies and offer intensive support to five selected businesses from the University.
In addition, project partners created simple tools for SME’s so they can better understand the impact their current business model has on the environment. The project involved working closely with other European partners such as ‘VOKA’ in Belgium and ‘Dynamo’ in the Netherlands who both provide support to high growth businesses in their respective regions. Other partners included the Chamber of Commerce in Lille and CD2E, both in France.
The project started in January 2012 and continued three years. One of the University’s aims was to develop a comprehensive lean start-up business programme which enabled us to implement a long term strategy for supporting new University student, graduate and staff start-up businesses and SME’s.
The Fusion project finished at the end of 2014. With just under 100 business support sessions for staff, students and alumni and 6 cross-border visits the University of Kent has been able to support and assist the development of start-up companies and SME's in Kent.
The John Earl Business advice sessions are insightful and have helped me plan my business idea and develop within the industry" - 2013
I am just writing to thank you for all your help, guidance and the contacts you have given me over the last two session and you've me a lot of confidence that I can take my business forward and really make it happen and grow.