More than 30 experts from across the UK will meet in Birmingham this week to try to encourage more partner-ships between small business and universities.
The University Knowledge into Enterprise Network (UNITE) - which holds its first meeting at Aston University's Business School on Friday- will look at how small firms can use academic research to boost business.
The event will look at existing research being undertaken in the UK and will also be attended by representatives from Advantage West Midlands and the CBI.
"SMEs have long been intimidated by institutions but we should be seen as an information exchange," said Prof Stephen Roper of Aston Business School.
"Our objective is to develop better ways of strengthening and building links with SMEs so that knowledge flows more easily." ..SUPL: