23rd September 2021

Congratulations to Leeds University Business School, which has been awarded the Small Business Charter Award, in recognition of its commitment to supporting the small business community, student entrepreneurship, and the local economy.

The panel were particularly impressed by SPARK, the business school’s start-up support initiative which provides a comprehensive package of support for student entrepreneurs which has had a vastly positive impact on its users. Participants in the scheme have access to digital provision, 1:1 mentoring, online workshops, enterprise scholarships, and funding for growth.  In the first year of launching, SPARK provided support to 700 businesses, with £6.75 million revenue generated and 114 jobs created throughout the assessment period.

Leeds University Business School has strong connections with its local SME community; a number of local businesses sit on five of its advisory boards across the school, helping to shape and develop the curriculum and offering within the school.

The Enterprise Ambassador initiative, comprising of alumni from the school helps to offer placements and consultancy projects for students to develop their learning, alongside providing guest lectures and support events aimed at students. This scheme was considered exemplary by the assessors.

The ‘With Enterprise’ pathway offered by the school enables enterprise to be fully integrated into a wide range of disciplines within the school and beyond. Leeds University Business School has successfully developed five undergraduate programmes, with plans for future growth including a new Medicine with Enterprise course. The assessors also considered this to be exemplary.

The Small Business Charter Award is a national accreditation, assessed by small business leaders, to recognise business schools which demonstrate excellence in supporting small businesses, student enterprise, and the local economy. Leeds University Business School will hold the award for three years, with their ‘Enterprise Ambassadors’ and ‘With Enterprise’ awarded exemplar status. There are now 41 business schools that hold the SBC Award in the UK and Ireland.

Anne Kiem OBE, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said:

“We would like to congratulate everyone at Leeds University Business School on attaining their Small Business Charter Award. They have demonstrated commitment to their mission to support student entrepreneurship and SMEs, and it is clear from the evidence the tangible high level of impact this has on their local economy.”

Professor Julia Bennell, Executive Dean of Leeds University Business School, said:

“The exemplars recognise true excellence and to receive two is outstanding. I’m delighted that our enterprise ambassador programme and our student enterprise capabilities have been acknowledged in this way. They both reflect our commitment to creating an environment where students, researchers, entrepreneurs and business leaders can connect and co-create for mutual benefit.”