New university partnership set up to support growth of Wakefield greetings card company

• Riverside supply thousands of retail sites and have a team of sales merchandisers which manages the category for retailers

Marketing and engineering experts at Leeds Beckett University have teamed up with Wakefield-based Riverside Greetings Ltd to bring academic knowledge, experience, and insight into the business – setting them up for long-term growth and sustainability.

A team of academics will work with Riverside Greetings Ltd – designers and suppliers of greetings cards based in Ossett, Wakefield – on the two-year Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP), which is part-funded by the Government through Innovate UK.

Dr Nick Halafihi, head of subject for marketing, public relations and journalism at Leeds Beckett, is co-leading the partnership. He said: “Riverside Greetings design and supply cards to convenience shops including Spar, Nisa and Costcutter. They are an ambitious company who want to embrace new innovations in technology.”

Co-leader, Dr Esther Pugh, senior lecturer in business strategy and marketing, said: “Our mKTP will bring together experts from across the university – our focus will be on strategic marketing, productivity, and developing cutting-edge new technology for managing and analysing data within the company.”

A skilled graduate will be recruited to carry out the project, as a full-time member of staff within the business, and with the full support and input of the academic team at Leeds Beckett. The academics all have extensive experience of working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on knowledge exchange projects.

Andrew Glen, managing director of Riverside Greetings, said: “We are delighted to be working with Leeds Beckett on an mKTP which will transform the greeting card category in the growing convenience sector, whilst creating a step change in the growth of our business and additional jobs.

“Our mission is to help convenience retailers sell more greetings cards and they will benefit from performance improvements – and their shoppers will benefit from a proposition which is better tailored to their needs.

“There is a strong and developing relationship between Riverside and Leeds Beckett which started with my participation in the Small Business Leadership Programme, has included the involvement of members of our management team in the Women Empowered through Coaching and Networking (#WECAN) programme – and is now moving into this exciting Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership.”

The partnership will also bring training and development opportunities for staff at Riverside Greetings through Leeds Beckett – as well as live commercial projects for students at the University to work on with the businesses.

The mKTP has received financial support from the UK government department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through Innovate UK.

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