Manchester Metropolitan University

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University solves industry IT

MMU partner firm wins 'Oscar'

AN MMU partner company which helps firms to save money through its innovative software is celebrating winning a prestigious business award.

Valueworks from Wigan has won the regional final of the AXA small-to-medium sized business of the year award – dubbed the ‘business Oscars’ by Gordon Brown.

The firm was established in 2000 by supply chain experts Jeff Dandridge and Iain Walsh to help businesses make savings in their purchasing processes.

Working with MMU they have developed an innovative web-based software product which enables companies to source goods and services at competitive prices.

£4.2 million

The company has doubled its size, year on year, and now employs 50 people with a turnover of £4.2 million.

Jeff Dandridge, the company’s chief executive, said: "The relationship with MMU has been invaluable and they played an integral role in assisting the development of our internet software platform."

In 2003, MMU won a Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant to place a researcher with Valueworks for a two-year period to improve growth and profitability.

Nick Whittaker, senior lecturer in computing at MMU, who pays regular visits to the company, said: "We have worked on many technology solutions with Jeff and his team and are delighted that their success in the IT market has earned them the AXA regional title."

Student experience

The industry link-up also benefits MMU students on IT and computing courses; three have gone on placement at the firm and half a dozen student projects have researched areas such as personal digital programming and wireless client-server programming.

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