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Funding and support for SMEs

We have a range of services and funding solutions to help small medium enterprises (SMEs) with their recruitment needs.

We work with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help you attract, select and keep students and graduates through funding, consultancy services and workshops.

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Funding Opportunities

At NTU we want to help support you when looking for new staff to fill skills gaps, help innovate and move your business forward.

As an SME based either within the Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire area or nationwide, we can offer funding to help you recruit our NTU graduates and talent through several support streams.

  • Funding for SMEs based in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Region

    Productivity Through Innovation

    Productivity Through Innovation (PTI) enables businesses to access a broad range of funding, services and support activities to improve their productivity and their market competitiveness.

    Developed in partnership with the University of Nottingham and University of Derby, the programme centres on improving the performance of the businesses involved. This programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

    Eligible businesses will be permitted to commit to a collaborative project with the University, who will provide a tailored support package that will pledge to improve productivity processes and quality, alongside enabling investment in new technologies.

    The collaboration will be designed to have maximum positive impact on your business. Benchmark productivity data will be gathered before and after this process to evaluate the impact and results of the support.

    This will be based on a detailed, two stage diagnostic, that focuses on 5 key productivity drivers:

    * Skills and Talent

    *Management and Leadership

    * Research and Development

    * Investment

    * International Trade

    Subject to eligibility, all support is part funded by the University and the European Regional Development Fund. The only cost is you is your time and commitment to improve, innovate and grow your business.

    For further information, please visit our Productivity Through Innovation page.

    Would you like to access higher level skills for your business?

    Our Grads4D2N2 programme in partnership with Derby college, Nottingham College, the University of Derby and Vision West Nottinghamshire College offers eligible SMEs in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire a complete package of free and subsidised support to help you benefit from NTU Talent and access higher-level skills.

    We can offer a £1000 grant to recruit a graduate to part-fund their salary for a 6 week period. For more information please contact and click to find out more about the Grads4D2N2 programme.

    Is your company growing at a rapid rate?

    If your company is growing at pace, the Upscaler programme could provide the support you need.

    UpScaler is focused on established successful businesses that are scaling up; have the potential to Scale-Up; or are ambitious to grow and Scale-Up. Through the UpScaler Project, eligible businesses will have access to a heavily subsidised and co-ordinated range of proven business support tools, practical support and a training programme, a proportion of which will be free with the remainder part-funded through a grant scheme.

    This covers graduate recruitment to fill the skills gaps which are holding your business back.  20% of the first 12 month’s salary for the graduate role (available for candidates up to 5 years post graduation) will be funded via the UpScaler project.

    UpScaler is supported by the European Regional Development Fund to support eligible SMEs in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.(D2N2 Area). For further information, please contact

  • Funding for SMEs- Nationwide

    Are you a UK-based SME looking for additional support for your business?

    The Santander scheme could be perfect for you.

    Santander is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs through various initiatives and awards. NTU have been working with Santander on their part-funded SME Internship programme. This is a nationwide initiative for eligible SMEs which allows access to a £1000 grant when recruiting an NTU graduate to part-fund their salary for a 6 week period. For more information and to find out how you can access the Talent at NTU please contact

Nottingham Trent University offers employers the opportunity to engage with our graduates who will bring fresh ideas, a new perspective and the latest skills and knowledge to help grow your business.

This is a perfect platform for you to take on a Nottingham Trent University’s graduate talent with funding support.

To find out more about funding opportunities and to see if you meet the eligibility criteria, contact us.

You can also visit Support for SMEs to see our full range of services and support to help your business grow.

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Talent Matching

Our Talent Matching service offers employers the opportunity to engage with our graduates.

We’ll be providing you with a Talent Matching service where we manage applications, shortlist candidates and assess graduates based on your vacancy requirements. When we’ve found a suitable match, we will introduce you to the graduates to arrange an interview.

Your vacancy will be advertised to our recent graduates and final year students who have signed up to our Future You scheme, which offers ongoing employability support to provide them with the necessary skills required to succeed in the workplace.

You will be offering our graduates a valuable opportunity to develop essential skills via a graduate level role which is a perfect platform for you to access Nottingham Trent University’s graduate talent. Our graduates can bring fresh ideas, a new perspective and the latest skills and knowledge to help grow your business.

To support with your recruitment, we can undertake an organisational needs analysis (ONA) to understand your business growth plans, future skills gaps and talent needs. We will cover everything from placements, to graduate recruitment, apprenticeships, leadership and management.

To talk to us about how the ONA and Talent Match service can help your business contact the Employer Engagement Team at

Opus International Consultants

Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) provide organisations with the potential to address a strategic business issue, with a dedicated graduate associate supported by an academic expert. These partnerships run between 12-36 months.

Projects must be transformational for the host organisation, showing high innovation, impact and challenge for all three parties involved, and have strong potential to contribute to wealth creation and economic growth in the UK.

Funding is available to support these projects. Large organisations are encouraged to demonstrate how they will involve their supply chain companies, particularly SMEs. Public sector organisations will only be funded by co-funding organisations such as Research Councils.

Some essential features surrounding funding for KTPs include:

  • Funding is 67% for SMEs and 50% for large corporates
  • Academic input is half a day per week
  • The graduate associate is employed by the University but based full time in the organisation
  • There must be a minimum of 10 employees within the organisation in order to be considered for funding support

Visit our KTP page for further information on how we can help your business.

Who is eligible?

Small and medium-sized enterprises are eligible for support.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as:

  • less than 250 employees and either:
    • annual turnover less than EUR 50 million or
    • annual balance sheet less than EUR 43 million

Still need help?

Employability Business Development Team
+44 (0)115 848 2189