DMU shortlisted twice for expertise working with business

Projects to help retain talented graduates in Leicester and work to support the shoemaking industry during the pandemic have placed De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) in the finals of business awards.

Business Awards 2022 Leicestershire CMYK

The Leicestershire Business Awards are run every year by the East Midlands Chamber to recognise businesses which best showcase the ingenuity and innovation of its companies.

DMU is shortlisted twice in the Excellence in Collaboration category, first for its collaboration with ER Recruitment for BrightER Futures. This programme teams up 20 students with 20 city businesses to show the career opportunities and experiences on offer in Leicester.


And Professor Katie Laird and Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar’s work with the British Footwear Association and Leicester company Micro-Fresh is up for the same award.

They were able to help the footwear industry understand for the first time how the Covid-19 virus could be transmitted during the manufacturing process, helping the industry put in place the correct safety procedures for staff. It showed that treating materials with Micro-Fresh antibacterial sprays reduced the time the virus remained on leather from 48 to just two hours.

Professor Laird, who is Professor of Microbiology at DMU, said: “Dr Shivkumar and I are delighted that our research is in the finals of the East Midlands Chamber Leicestershire Business Awards, it was rewarding to be able to help the national footwear manufacturing industry operate safely during the pandemic, whilst at the same time promoting innovation from within Leicestershire.”

brighter Futures group

BrightER Futures was a spin-off project from Leicester’s Future Leaders, which supported Black and ethnic minority students at DMU into graduate work. Realising that many students did not realise the opportunities which existed in Leicester, Eileen Richards and the team at DMU Works put together a programme with city businesses to offer them short work placements.

The companies who took part this year were: McIntyre Hudson, ER Recruitment, Happy Pet, Menphys, East Midlands Chamber, Cross Productions, RSM, Kazzoo IT, Michael Smith Switchgear, Momentum, Pick Everard, Breedon Consulting, Paradigm Wills, Corporate Architecture, Fraser Stretton, Brewin Dolphin and Furnley House.

Communication Arts and Media student Anna-Maria Sikora worked with Cross Productions. “Honestly, BrightER was so helpful to be able to be part of a business, see how they worked and get that experience to be part of a team and learn skills like networking.

“It’s something that I have found so useful - I went there not knowing what to expect and found I was getting involved in events, in marketing and made to feel part of the team. I hope they win, they deserve to.”

Scarlett Tinsley of ER Recruitment said: “Our region is bursting with young talent and fantastic businesses, yet there is a gap between connecting the two. BrightER Futures aims to provide DMU students with work experience in Leicestershire businesses which boosts their employability after graduating, and also increases the city’s retention rate of leading students. The two cohorts we have ran so far have supported 40 students, all who have utilised the programme to secure graduate jobs.”

Awards are split into three events for Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and feature 14 categories, ranging from Community Impact and Excellence in Collaboration to Excellence in Innovation and Commitment to People Development.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Despite the challenges of the past few years, our region continues to show its resilience, ingenuity and hunger for growth, and the line-up of this year’s Business Awards is testament to this.

“The East Midlands is packed with so many hugely successful businesses that are at the pinnacle of their industries, and it’s fantastic to have a chance to put them under the spotlight.

“Alongside showcasing the great examples of innovation, green growth and global trading – which are all integral to the future economic landscape – our Business Awards also celebrate how our companies support their people, communities and each other through collaboration.”

The Leicestershire Business Awards will take place on Friday 4 November at the King Power Stadium.


Posted on Thursday 8th September 2022

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