Used Kitchen Exchange and Liverpool John Moores University mKTP collaboration plans to create 180 jobs over next 5 years
Widnes-based Premium kitchen marketplace, Used Kitchen Exchange, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, has been awarded a £120,000 government grant that will drive business growth and support the low carbon transition. As part of this expansion, Used Kitchen Exchange is aiming to create over 180 new local jobs over the next five years.
The two-year grant has been awarded through the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) programme run through Innovate UK, KTN and UK Business Schools on behalf of the Department for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The funding will enable the partnership to employ a Masters-level post-graduate as a KTP Associate to manage the project alongside the company and academic supervisors.
Used Kitchen Exchange sells approved pre-owned and ex-display kitchens, making premium quality kitchens available to everyone. By introducing and popularising the concept of buying and selling pre-owned kitchens, its founder, Helen Lord, has been credited with transforming how the kitchen industry thinks about its role in addressing carbon reduction.
Mick Card, KTN’s KTP Adviser, commented: “Management KTPs are one of the most impactful ways in which high growth businesses can support high staff growth and achieve transformative step-change scale-up. I’m particularly pleased to see Used Kitchen Exchange maximising benefits of working with LJMU and wider partners from Innovate UK.”
By extending the lifetime of a kitchen, Used Kitchen Exchange is able to reduce the environmental impact of the industry and has saved 13,200 tonnes of carbon owing to the 2,200 kitchens repurposed to date. As a result of these efforts, the company is pending the prestigious international Bcorp certification – something only granted to businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental purpose.
As part of the project, Used Kitchen Exchange will work with Claire Hannibal, Professor of Operations Management at Liverpool Business School, and Associate Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Business and Law. Professor Hannibal will develop a strategy for the business to capitalise on the boom in new home furnishing markets while also creating best practice for sustainable business growth.
These activities will help Used Kitchen Exchange fulfil its ambitious five year plans which include increasing yearly sales from £4m to £50m, and increasing the carbon savings driven by the business from 4,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes.
Helen Lord, founder of Used Kitchen Exchange, said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected for the mKTP grant and equally delighted at the prospect of partnering with one of our local universities to reach our ambitious expansion goals.
“Through growth in awareness and business expansion, we are going to normalise the sale and purchase of pre-owned kitchens. It’s a major opportunity because only 3% of kitchens are currently re-purposed. The benefits are enormous – it will bring cost effective kitchens to the marketplace, while driving massive environmental savings. It’s a win-win for everyone. Let’s change the way we think about kitchens!”
David Bryde, Director of Research and Knowledge at LJMU Business School, said: “In Liverpool Business School we very much see the Management KTP (mKTP) as an important vehicle for us to deliver on our mission to drive economic growth in partnership with business and industry…. The two way nature of the mKTP enables our team of academics to not only help UKE in the next stage of their transformational journey, as they seek to grow their business and diversify into new markets, but also to gain invaluable practical insights that will inform their teaching and research.”
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