The KARIM Project

Connecting SMEs and universities

The challenge

SMEs and universities are the ideal partners for getting new products to the market. Yet, identifying partners and establishing working relationships is often complicated by two main obstacles. First, most SMEs lack the resources to identify an academic partner able to provide them with the technological resources they need. Second, the business support that is currently available to develop partnerships only operates on a regional basis.

The project in brief

The KARIM project addressed this challenge through providing transnational support to SMEs in order to enhance their involvement in European cooperation. To complete this goal, KARIM developed and tested a new transnational business development model for SMEs and universities interested in collaborating across borders.

Traditionally, business development managers were already in place for national collaboration, but this model focused on expanding the partners' national networks to support the north-west Europe area. It also allowed business development agencies to accurately identify the SMEs that are best suited to take new technologies to market inside and outside of the traditional national borders.

By providing SMEs with access to transnational expertise, it gave them a competitive edge in their market, and led to the creation of many new partnerships and products, supporting the development of the sector in North-West Europe.

KARIM developed and tested a new transnational business development model for SMEs.

The impact

Through the development of a new transnational model, the project improved SME local and transnational access to high value innovation support and technology, making the NWE area more competitive overall.

Contributing to exchanges, workshops, and research projects, the network created through the KARIM project successfully linked research institutions spearheading innovation technology with businesses who could market new products at a transnational level. Over the course of the project, KARIM helped 1 500 SMEs to collaborate with research organisations, supporting the development of 110 products, and creating 24 jobs.

As an example, TE Laboratories was one of the companies supported through this project. Mark Bowkett, TE’s director, says the projects he met at one of KARIM’s events ‘provided the product and service developments that we needed for the company.’  KARIM also enabled TE Laboratories to receive support from the University of Lancaster’s China Catalyst Programme to develop R&D and trade links in China’s Guangdong province.

“Thanks to KARIM, our SME got involved with over eight European-funded research projects and is exploring new technologies”

Mark Bowkett, TE Laboratories


SMEs that were linked with research organizations


Jobs created


New products developed

Share this

Tweet Share