Government grant will help UKE generate 180 jobs

The Used Kitchen Exchange (UKE), in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, has been awarded a £120,000 government grant, which will be used to create 180 jobs as part of its future growth strategy.

The two-year grant has been awarded through the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (MKTP) scheme run by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The funding will enable the partnership to employ a Masters-level post-graduate as a KTP Associate to manage the project alongside the company and academic supervisors.

Helen Lord, UKE director and founder, will work with Claire Hannibal, professor of operations management at Liverpool Business School, and associate dean of research and knowledge exchange in the Faculty of Business and Law professors at Liverpool John Moores University to develop a growth strategy for the business while keeping practices sustainable.

UKE’s five-year business plan includes creating 180 jobs within the Widnes area and increasing yearly sales from £4 million to £50m, which will increase its carbon savings from 4,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes per year.

Lord said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected for the MKTP grant and equally delighted at the prospect of partnering with one of our local universities to reach our ambitious expansion goals.

“Through growth in awareness and business expansion, we are going to normalise the sale and purchase of pre-owned kitchens. It’s a major opportunity because only three percent of kitchens are currently re-purposed. The benefits are enormous – it will bring cost effective kitchens to the marketplace, while driving massive environmental savings. It’s a win-win for everyone. Let’s change the way we think about kitchens.”

Mick Card, regional KTP adviser on behalf of Innovate UK, said: “Management KTPs are one of the most impactful ways in which high growth businesses can support high staff growth and achieve transformative step-change scale-up. I’m particularly pleased to see Used Kitchen Exchange maximising benefits of working with LJMU and wider partners from Innovate UK.”

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