Queen’s University Belfast launches free SME business support programme; Adapt4Growth

The programme offers businesses dedicated support to help adapt their business models in the face of market disruption resulting from the COVID–19 crisis.


Queen’s University Belfast has announced the launch of Adapt4Growth, a business support programme designed for SMEs across Northern Ireland to help them maintain a competitive position in global markets, secure jobs and increase productivity during and following the crisis. 

The programme, which is part funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE) through the Connected programme, is intended to stretch ideas, test market possibilities, and create dynamic and insightful business plans in the current uncertain economic climate.

An initial pilot is already underway with businesses from across Northern Ireland, with future courses set to run during the summer.  The programme, which is open to furloughed and non–furloughed workers as a training exercise is directed by an experienced team of experts from Queen’s University and supported by European specialists in innovation.

Paul Donachy, Head of Innovation Programmes at Queen’s commented “Recent data and analysis shows the extreme threats and opportunities facing the Northern Ireland economy due to the COVID–19 crisis, particularly surrounding high growth ventures and the science and technology sectors. NI will be one of the hardest hit economies in the UK.  

This free–to–attend 12–week programme allows NI companies to be better placed to explore new market opportunities, maintain a competitive position and increase productivity during and following the COVID–19 pandemic, through fast–tracking market validation and evidence of market fit, refining propositions and developing robust pandemic–ready business models and open doors to new markets, partnerships and funding opportunities.”

In 2019, an independent review by Octopus Ventures judged Queen’s to be the UK’s #1 most entrepreneurial university.

Brian McCaul, Director of Innovation at Queen’s commented: “Queen’s University’s has a strong track–record in creating new technology start–ups and helping to commercialise leading–edge technology from the Queen’s research base. Drawing on Queen’s strengths in commercialisation and delivery of innovation programmes, the University has the opportunity to offer dedicated support to businesses via a novel intervention to help local companies to re–design their business models in the face of Covid–related market disruption.”

Adapt4Growth Programme Manager Amanda McCullough commented “We are delighted to welcome SMEs from across Northern Ireland on to this programme. This first cohort of organisations come a broad range of industries including manufacturing, hospitality, construction, technology and biotechnology. We welcome enquiries from SMEs who would be interested in participating in future cohorts and would encourage them to get in touch with us via the Adapt4Growth webpage.”

For more information on Adapt4Growth visit https://www.qub.ac.uk/Business/Support-for-business/adapt4growth/