Funded by the Office for Students, the Intrapreneurial Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Pathway (IKEEP) connects SME’s (CIC’s and charities included) with business trained university students from a range of disciplines, to work on ‘real-world’ projects that improve a product, process, or proposition.
A team of three interdisciplinary students are matched to company projects by the IKEEP team, based on the skillset required, and the students’ preference. Working remotely, they can provide extra resource and inject new perspectives into a business.
Dr Tom Bartley, CEO of Barbal, a technology start-up explains, “IKEEP requires students to be closely aligned with the business problem they are brought in to solve and to have the level of knowledge that they need to be able to do that task.”
IKEEP is particularly well-suited for organisations operating just beyond the start-up stage. Projects can run on an intensive basis over 2 weeks, or flexibly within 4 weeks and students are paid a stipend upon completion.
Sarah Whelan, HR Director at Airway Medical, an equipment manufacturer says, “By bringing someone into the business that we can be enthusiastic about and know has received quality training, adds value to the experience and the outcomes. We also appreciate the time, effort and enthusiasm that students bring into the business.”
Past projects have included market or competitor research, business model analysis, and technical development and integration of new product ideas.