Roehampton joins four other south London universities to offer support to local businesses

  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A new programme of support for businesses in South London, was launched today by Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council and Chair of the South London Partnership, a sub-regional collaboration of five London boroughs; Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton.

Image - Roehampton joins four other south London universities to offer support to local businesses

BIG in South London, which stands for Business, Innovation and Growth, brings together the world-class knowledge, expertise and facilities of the six universities, of which Roehampton is one, for the benefit and economic recovery of South London based businesses and communities.

It was launched today at a Leadership Summit attended by leaders of the partner Borough Councils and Vice-Chancellors of the partner universities, with Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, former Universities Minister, as the keynote speaker.

The six partner universities, which serve a total student population of 45,000, have an array of services on offer to start-up founders, businesses and not for profits including world-class research expertise, student and researcher business placements, professional short courses and access to specialist facilities.

The first phase of activity includes the BIG Open Innovation Voucher. This voucher will enable businesses to win a grant worth up to £5,000 to work with one of the universities on a defined project – such as developing a new or improving an existing product, tapping into research or scientific expertise for R&D or feasibility studies such as market research.

Professor Jean-Noel Ezingeard, Vice-Chancellor of Roehampton said: “Our Research and Knowledge Exchange activities already make a big difference to our local community and, through BIG we will be able to do even more. We look forward to working with our community and local businesses to help address issues and challenges they may be facing”

Councillor Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, and Chair of the South London Partnership, who launched the programme said: “I’m incredibly proud that Richmond and the South London Partnership are strongly supporting the economic recovery of the local business community with this new initiative. Many businesses simply don’t appreciate the benefits of working with their local university. There is a wealth of talent, advice, scientific and research expertise and specialist facilities which aren’t commercially available elsewhere – which can be tapped into. We urge businesses to come forward with their project proposals for the open innovation voucher.”

Sarah Sturrock, Director of the South London Partnership, says: “The development of BIG in South London is a key part of our long-term economic vision for the sub-region. As businesses continue to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our local universities with their wealth of knowledge, facilities and student and academic talent are well-placed to provide support. This is only the first phase, a much-needed network of physical hubs and workspaces is also in development, through which the partnership will deliver further innovation and business support services.”

The other universities involved in the initiative are: Kingston, St Mary’s, Sussex (via their innovation hub in Croydon), London South Bank, University of the Arts (Wimbledon).

For more information on working with Roehampton, please click here

Businesses interested in accessing the voucher scheme and the wider support on offer from their local universities, should visit