Universities and Colleges commit to South London’s economic recovery

Today saw eleven of South London’s leading higher and further education institutions commit to helping local citizens, communities and businesses rebound from the challenges of the pandemic and shaping a fair, sustainable, and productive future sub-regional economy.

The University of the Arts London, Croydon College, University of Greenwich, Kingston University, London South Bank University, Richmond upon Thames College, University of Roehampton, South Thames Colleges Group, Spurgeon’s College, St Mary’s University and Sussex Innovation joined have joined together in this commitment:

“As South London Universities and Colleges, we are responsible not only to our students and staff but also to the places around us.  As place-based institutions, we attach a high priority to supporting the economic, social, environmental, and cultural life of our local communities. That is why we have come together to endorse the publication of the South London Partnership’s Economic Recovery Action Plan and commit to building on the growing partnership between ourselves, with the Boroughs and with other partners to address the challenges and unlock the opportunities and full potential and sustainability of our local communities, economy and places.”

Individual quotes from senior leaders in each of the Universities and Colleges party to this commitment can be found in the following document: https://big-knowledge.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/6809-Support-for-economic-recovery-Document-11.pdf

The joint commitment was made in response to the publication today of the South London Partnership (SLP)’s Economic Recovery Action Plan.  The South London Partnership covers the Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, and Croydon.  Its Economic Recovery Action Plan highlights significant impacts from the pandemic, including a 12 per cent economic contraction in 2020 of its £32 billion economy, 32,000 lost jobs, significant rises in unemployment and in benefits claimants, and growing in-work poverty.  It also points to long-standing challenges that need to be addressed in driving economic recovery, including low productivity, poor connectivity, and ingrained pockets of deprivation.  The SLP Boroughs Action Plan sets out five priorities on which the boroughs are collaborating to address inequalities, support economic recovery and address the climate emergency.

The eleven Universities and Colleges have come together through the BIG South London programme to forge a partnership with the five Boroughs and with local businesses to support innovation, to help create new jobs, businesses, and growth.  Alongside the creation of new workspaces across the boroughs, BIG South London will deliver programmes to connect entrepreneurs and businesses with the research expertise, knowledge and facilities of South London’s Universities and Colleges to help them innovate to create new or improved services products or practices.  It will also help stimulate innovative relationships to address wider social, economic, or environmental challenges in South London.

Sarah Sturrock, Director of the South London Partnership, said: “The Universities and Further Education Colleges of South London have a major role to play in supporting the region’s economic recovery, supporting South London businesses and communities to grow and thrive and ensuring South London continues to be a world class place to live, study, work and invest. We are proud of the partnership that is emerging with and between them through our BIG South London programme and warmly welcome their commitment to work together and with the SLP Boroughs as we strive to unlock South London’s full potential.”

As part of its contribution to economic recovery, BIG South London is already investing in grass roots innovation. It launched its first programme of support in January – an Innovation Voucher Scheme – which enabled businesses and third sector organisations to apply for up to £5k of support from a university in South London.

Eighteen South London based businesses and organisations have now been awarded a BIG South London Innovation Voucher, which will enable them to tap into university expertise and resources to undertake a project which will boost their growth, productivity, and impact. Organisations that have successfully been awarded an Innovation Voucher include Merton-based Green Chilly, Kingston-based Beesmax, Croydon BME Forum, Sutton Night Watch, and Richmond-based NURVV

Philip Ingam, Co-founder, Green Chilly said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the Innovation Voucher. Green Chilly is a green technology pioneer in cooling solutions for packaging. Using patented technology, we have developed the Frozen Wrap or Fwrap® to cool products down and keep them cool (Chilly) while being environmentally friendly (Green). Our packaging is 100% eco, being made from recycled paper and water, while being compostable and recyclable.

“The voucher funding will allow us to work with LSBU to further enhance the technology to improve efficiency, along with investigating how we can utilise new materials to make the Fwrap even better for the environment.”

In addition, BIG South London will be launching an Innovation Support Programme in October, which will provide further fully funded support for South London based businesses wishing to grow their business through innovation and by collaborating with the region’s Universities.

Notes to Editors

The South London Partnership Economic Recovery Action Plan can be found at: http://southlondonpartnership.co.uk/slp-economic-recovery-action-plan/

To find out more about BIG South London visit: big-knowledge.co.uk

Full list of businesses to have been successfully awarded a BIG South London Innovation Voucher:

• Merton-based Green Chilly will be working with London South Bank University to design, develop and manufacture eco-friendly paper packaging containers that cool items down and keep them cool using patented technology.

• Croydon BME Forum commenced a small feasibility study in April 2021, where barbers have been educated to carry out healthcare advice about blood pressure (BP), offer these BP checks to their visiting clientele and encourage them to seek further healthcare advice as necessary, alongside London South Bank University

• Sutton Night Watch working with Roehampton University will collaborate on a project which aims to catalyse its long-term growth and propose a model for its transformation into a ‘360-degree charity’. It is envisioned that this will make the charity more robust to crises and business interruption and develop its reputation for holistic services for the homeless, transient, and vulnerable.

• Kingston-based Beesmax will work with Kingston University to create an alternative methodology to using honey and pollen to collect pollutants stored within our pollinator colonies. General wildflower pollination, crop pollination and commercial honey production depend entirely upon healthy and vigorous pollinators.

• Richmond-based Nurvv, will work with St Marys University, to develop its innovative wearable technology products (NURVV Run) for runners.

• Croydon-based Entio will partner with London South Bank University to develop technology to optimise the insect-based conversion of natural waste into insect-based protein for animal feed and fertiliser.

• Kingston-based Geodome, working with Kingston University, will develop a new tonometer for measuring Intra Ocular Pressure (IOP).

• Kingston-based Incubiq will be partnering with Kingston University to develop and commercialise a project to improve how digital identities can be used in the physical and digital world, including the vision of a decentralised identity wallet.

• Croydon-based Lionheart Football, is working with University of Roehampton, to create a range of player centred development coaching programmes for young football players across London and South East England.

• Kingston-based Shinealight will work with Kingston University to design and manufacture advanced kinetic lighting products.

• Kingston-based Agsenze, working with Kingston University, will develop a range of Internet-of-Things (IOT) solutions to collect farm performance data to improve farmer decision making and lead to greater profitability and reduced losses.

• Merton-based Monadd will work with London South Bank University on its automated admin and address solutions, allowing anyone in the UK to update their address across services.

• Kingston-based Plastop will work with London South Bank University to enhance the construction industry’s sustainable practice capabilities with the aim to equip businesses with tangible methods of decarbonisation.

• Kingston-based Crystalisr will partner with London South Bank University to develop a digital platform to introduce large local corporations to SMEs and genere surplus to reinvest in the community.

• Kingston-based Create4mentalhealth will work with Kingston University to create professional multimedia content, such as short films and messages of hope, to engage with young people, showcase empathy for mental health issues, and empower those affected to speak up and share their struggles with friends and family.

• Merton Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the University of Roehampton and Kingston University to test and revise models of business engagement against other European and enterprise models to clarify options for sustained income generation for Merton Chamber of Commerce and other Chambers of Commerce in South London.

• Merton Climate Action Group will work with Kingston University to increase tree cover, biodiversity, and ecosystem services in the London Borough of Merton to mitigate effects of climate change and improve the mental and physical well-being of residents.

• Kingston-based Surrey Honey Farm will work with Kingston University to create the analytical processes needed to quantify the destructive and degrading impact that chemicals and airborne pollutants have on honeybees.

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