Skip to main content

The MD Club remains committed to supporting regional businesses and academics through this difficult time and we were pleased that so many members were able to join us on our new online platform for our most recent event – Continuing to Support and Collaborate with Businesses during the Pandemic. 

Hosted by MD Club lead Alex Prince, this special webinar focused on the business support available from both Sheffield Universities and collaboration opportunities for both academics and businesses within the Sheffield City Region. Our members heard from:

Dr Ronald Dyer, Director of Executive and Professional Education, University of Sheffield Management School 

    • Ron held an open discussion on the support and education opportunities available through the Executive and Professional Education programme, see Executive Education event, 3rd June for further information.

Professor Kevin Kerrigan – Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Enterprise, Sheffield Hallam University

    • Kevin focused on how universities can help the future of the Sheffield City Region economy by working alongside the emerging Sheffield City Region Coronavirus Recovery Plan. More information on Sheffield Hallam’s contributions are available on their dedicated webpage Sheffield Hallam University Civic and Industry Response.

Dr Pete Mylon – Academic Lead for the iForge, University of Sheffield 

    • Pete took the attendees on a virtual tour of the University of Sheffield’s innovative iForge facilities, a space that allows students to support industry collaborations whilst learning. The students are currently supporting the fight against coronavirus by producing vital PPE. Pete’s talk also looked at the Impact Project Scheme, a collaborative programme which utilises manufacturing and digital skills to support SME adoption of Industry 4.0 technology.

Discussions focused on both opportunities and challenges during the current COVID-19 crisis and economic recovery as well as longer term business development and collaboration opportunities across the Sheffield City Region. Just like our physical events, there was a lot of buzz during networking through the online chat feature.

“Well done @MDClubSheff team for an informative meet-up this afternoon. Great foundations for collaborative efforts between universities & business to support the #sheffieldcityregion economy through recovery to resilience” – Attendee Feedback

The audience featured a balance of business and academic representatives across both universities and the wider Sheffield City Region. This new online format enabled us to host an event at a different time and record the event which is available below (see timings to jump to relevant sections). Those attending the event were able to pose questions to all speakers, you can see these questions and answers at the end of this article.

Interested in becoming an MD Club member? Register via our ‘Get Involved’ page, you can keep up to date with the MD Club via our social media Twitter and LinkedIn.


Q & A

Q: Anne Wilson: Is it possible some of the short courses etc. could possibly attract funding from SCR Skills Bank for the businesses as it is an employer led application process?

A: Ron Dyer UoS: There are some uncertainties since COVID-19, but we do have a standing relationship with the Skills Bank so that would be possible and something for us to explore. SCR Growth Hub Skills Advisors can also help. 


Q: Stuart Sinclair: Will the EMBA be online in Sept?

A: Carole Couper UoS: Yes.


Q: Bob Drake: Both Sheffield universities have established international networks/footprints. How might SMEs in the SCR leverage these relationships?

A: Ron Dyer UoS: We currently have an Office of Strategic Partnerships at the Sheffield University Management School which can provide some interaction support that business can potentially engage in to test the waters

Post event note: For further information please contact Eleanor Eadey, Regional Partnerships Development Officer, University of Sheffield or 


Q: Ceri Batchelder: How do you think the city region/universities can tailor their business support provision to startups versus existing SMEs?

A: Kevin Kerrigan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Enterprise, Sheffield Hallam University: I think that both universities currently do great work supporting their own students and graduates to start their own businesses. We need to do more to develop wider start up support and a community of like minded organisations. There are also some specific projects that support or can support start ups: Scale up 360; Advanced Wellbeing Accelerator, SCR Scale up. References are made to most of these above.

A: Lahari Parchuri, Enterprise Manager, University of Sheffield: Sheffield was rated the best city to start or grow a business in the UK (Payment Sense Report 2019) and as one of the leading cities in the UK for female entrepreneurship with 38% growth in the last 12 months (Business Leader 2019). There is a growing ecosystem in Sheffield with a number of Incubator and Accelerator programs that comprise of 

  • both universities, 
  • public sector- Business Sheffield(Sheffield City Council)
  • private sector- Kollider (digital and tech incubator), TwinkleHive (supporting startups)
  • third sector – Social Enterprise Exchange

I don’t think we need new provisions of support, but the better promotion of existing services and working together collectively in the ecosystem will strengthen Sheffield’s place even further as the best city to start and grow business. Sheffield strongly represents diverse sectors in its business make up ranging from creative, health, manufacturing, and sports to name a few – so there are strong foundations to build on. 


Q: Andy Stratton: Who should I contact at SHU around a (free online) Startup event to Students/graduates?

Please contact the SHU Enterprise Team, and in particular, my colleague Rob King (Start-up Adviser)  For any future general enquiries of a similar nature related to self-employment support (provided or received) for students and graduates, please contact the Enterprise Team  via email:  or call on 114 225 3131.

For queries at the University of Sheffield please contact Lahari Parchuri or visit their dedicated web page 


Q: Jonathan Bray: Start-ups and spin-outs need industrial support to ensure the product is right for business. Industrial mentoring is a must I feel.

A: Kevin Kerrigan SHU: Mentoring is an essential part of the learning process and most business people / entrepreneurs / leaders are more than willing to share their insights. The AWRC Accelerator has an interesting model of mentorship from corporate partners in the health tech sector for start up businesses that are part of that project but other incubators also deliver this.



Vincent Traynor – Sheffield Hallam University

Hi all – feel free to get in touch re the Leading through Turbulent Change programme: at My email is:


Caroline Nouvellon

Hi everyone if you would, like more info about the Hallam i-Lab please contact me firectlyand/or Scale-Up 360, please contact me directly For info on Scale-up 360 follow this link


Kelli Parnham, ScaleUp 360 (SHU)

You are welcome to contact me directly at about ScaleUp 360


Anne Wilson MBE

For SCR Skills Bank can put businesses in touch with us on the Skills Advisor Team To assist and support.


Andy Stratton

As part of the Institute of Coding at UoS, we will be running the (online) Sheffield Startup Summer 2020 from 24th June to 8th July – a 2 weeks digital startup event for students and recent graduates – from both Universities – supported by Eagle Labs, Kollider and IBM, and more. Please email me at if you are interested in being a mentor, giving a talk, or other activity.

Leave a Reply