Figures released by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) show the University of Northampton has the largest increase in the number of businesses it is collaborating with of any university in the UK.
It is now one of the top five UK universities supporting the UK economy and increasing employment and skills through its work with businesses.
Northampton’s Inspire2Enterprise business support programme (a joint venture between the university and Exemplas Ltd) specialises in working with social enterprises, an increasingly important part of the UK economy.
The HEFCE data reveals that through Inspire2Enterprise the University of Northampton supported 1,986 businesses in 2012, up from 137 in 2011.
Professor Simon Denny, director of enterprise, development and social impact at the university, said: “We are delighted with the success of Inspire2Enterprise and the results it has had.
“When we set up Inspire2Enterprise in 2011 we were determined to run it as a business in its own right, and not to hold out our hand for taxpayers’ money to make it work.
“The figures show that our customers really like the high quality support we are offering to social enterprises.
“We wanted to rise up the HEFCE league tables, and to go from a very low position straight into the top five universities in the UK is a brilliant result.”