UKE (Used Kitchen Exchange) is a multi-award winning disruptive business who specialise in the re-sale of used (second hand) and ex-display kitchens.
The business founders developed the concept after buying their own used kitchen online. Seeing that there was very little help out there for someone wanting to buy or sell a used kitchen, they also discovered that the kitchen industry operates within linear working methods by not considering an ethical solution with the majority of used kitchens ending up in landfill. The founders saw this business opportunity, their vision being to change how the industry operates, pioneering sustainability.
UKE initially approached Liverpool John Morres University (LJMU) to devise a way of calculating how much carbon is saved when a kitchen is re-used. By offering this service and quantifying all of the positive financial and environmental savings, kitchen retailers and manufacturers will be encouraged to change to meet customer demands and therefore improve their environmental performance.
Much of the data that was required did not exist so the Clean Growth UK team at LJMU developed a lifecycle carbon assessment and carbon calculator to quantify the embodied carbon and waste carbon emissions in a typical kitchen.
UKE can now quantify and compare the environmental benefits of buying or selling a used kitchen, thus communicating a strong message to end users and supply chain.
Access to University Business Support and Funding
Further to this initial support, Phil and Helen Lord from UKE approached the Clean Growth UK team to pursue a longer term project for experts from Liverpool Business School to guide their ambitions to transform and grow their business.
Backed by a £120,000 government grant and a partnership with LJMU – the project will lead to the creation of more than 180 jobs over the next five years.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership
The grant has been awarded through the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (MKTP) scheme run by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It 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 also hopes to increase sales from £4m to £50m.
Founder Helen Lord said: “Through growth in awareness and business expansion, we are going to normalise the sale and purchase of pre-owned kitchens. It will bring cost effective kitchens to the marketplace, while driving massive environmental savings. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
“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”.