South London Partnership (SLP)

Knowledge Exchange Framework perspective demonstrated: local growth and regeneration

As an anchor institution in South London, Kingston University is committed to developing meaningful partnerships across the region to enhance opportunities for staff and students and help our regional economy grow.

The South London Partnership (SLP) is a collaboration of five London boroughs (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton). It aims to build on the many strengths of South London as a place for people to live, work and thrive. Kingston University partners with the SLP on strategic projects with the objective of improving the region's economy by enhancing business productivity and increasing innovation.

The SLP region has a population of 1.2 million, a GVA of £32 billion, 60,000 active businesses and 440,000 jobs. The majority of businesses are SMEs (with numbers of start-up businesses six times higher than the London average). The effects of COVID-19 have resulted in a significant contraction in the economy, declining GVA and a large number of jobs lost, but also increased home/agile working practices and digital economy opportunities. There is significant scope for recovery and growth. By partnering with SLP, Kingston University can contribute by providing businesses with access to our academic expertise, research, student talent and specialist resources to facilitate increased skills, employment opportunities and business innovation services within the region.

South London Partnership projects

Through close collaboration with the South London Partnership (SLP) Kingston University develops and participates in a wide range of programmes across the region including:

BIG (Business, Innovation & Growth) South London programme

BIG South London is a £6m programme of support which brings together the world-class knowledge, expertise and facilities of the region's universities and colleges for the benefit and economic recovery of South London-based businesses and communities.

Powered by the South London Partnership, Kingston University and 10 other educational institutions in the region  University of the Arts, London, Croydon College, University of Greenwich, London South Bank University, Richmond upon Thames College, University of Roehampton, South Thames College Group, Spurgeon's College, St Mary's University and Sussex Innovation Croydon  are key partners in the programme.

Aligned to the Government's priorities to drive innovation and productivity, an ambitious and pioneering programme of BIG activities is being delivered and developed, designed to help local businesses innovate and grow.

The programme aims to: 

  • establish long-term effective partnership working and infrastructure between education providers and the boroughs so businesses can access academic resources, facilities and expertise
  • deliver a programme of knowledge exchange, innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurial support for businesses and organisations throughout the region
  • address a shortage of shared business workspaces by supporting five borough workspace hubs integrated with specialist support services.

Read more about the launch of BIG and Kingston University's involvement 

Visit the BIG South London website and find out more

What has happened so far in the BIG Programme?

Innovation Vouchers

One of the first phases of the BIG programme is an open innovation voucher scheme launched in January 2021, where businesses and organisations from across the region applied for £5,000 of support from a University on the delivery of a defined project, such as developing or improving a new or existing product.

Kingston is one of six universities involved in the programme which encourages collaboration between universities and businesses to promote economic growth, innovation and recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. Academic staff are providing the expertise, specialist resources and technology required to support the delivery of the projects.

Kingston University is working with nine businesses who were successfully awarded vouchers, with projects expected to be completed by Spring 2022.  

Read more about the Kingston University Innovation Voucher projects and the academics, businesses and organisations involved

Innovation Support Programme

A new programme of support, to help South London businesses and organisations recover and thrive post-Covid, launched in November 2021.

The fully-funded BIG South London Innovation Support Programme is designed to help companies grow through adopting and embedding an innovative approach within their business.

The programme is modular and can be customised to suit any type of business from early-stage start-ups, social enterprises and charities looking to lay the foundations for success to established businesses needing extra support to move to the next level of growth.

The programme includes a one-to-one innovation health check with an experienced innovation mentor, followed by workshops covering topics such as innovation process and facilitation, leadership and negotiation, intellectual property, finance and funding, growth strategies and bid writing.

The programme will aim to match businesses with researchers and academics at one of BIG's university partners (including Kingston) who have a broad range of expertise which can help accelerate business innovation and growth. Businesses that reach this stage will work closely with academics and researchers in a specific field and have access to specialist facilities if required.

The programme is being delivered by London South Bank University, Kingston University and St Mary's University Twickenham alongside leading regional business organisations, including chambers of commerce in Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Richmond.

Read more about the BIG Innovation Support Programme

South London Mayor's Construction Academy Hub

Part of the wider Mayor's Construction Academy, the South London Mayor's Construction Academy Hub is a two-year SLP project operating across six London boroughs (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton and Wandsworth). It aims to help local residents develop the skills needed to gain employment in the construction industry to support local housing and infrastructure development. It brings together construction employers and training organisations to build and strengthen the pipeline of skilled construction workers in south London.

Through Kingston University and other training providers in the region, the hub offers a broad range of courses in construction, as well as apprenticeships and traineeships. The hub is focused on ensuring that high quality construction training meets the workforce demands of employers. 

South London Careers Hub

A new South London Careers Hub is being developed by South London Partnership. As part of a national network, funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company and the Greater London Authority, the South London Careers Hub will help connect employers with schools and colleges and support young people to make informed choices about their next careers steps. Kingston University will be supporting the Hub by participating in events and activities in schools and colleges across South London, helping create inclusive and accessible careers education programmes.

Read more about the South London Careers Hub.

Get in touch

Please contact us if you would like further information about knowledge exchange at Kingston University.

If you are interested in exploring collaborative opportunities and getting access to our academic expertise, student talent or unique facilities, please get in touch.