SBC workshop: The role of the business school in sustaining a regional entrepreneurial eco-system

In September, the Small Business Charter held a workshop, facilitated by UCL’s Oli Pinch, on the role of business schools in sustaining regional entrepreneurial eco-systems, with deeper insights into challenges faced by business schools and how to tackle them. The event was hosted by UCL School of Management in their brand new campus in Canary Wharf.

The event was attended by over 40 participants, representing over 30 different institutions, and provided an opportunity for the Small Business Charter award winning schools and those who are applying for the award to network, engage and learn from their peers. Sessions were run by speakers from Charter award holding schools, LEP’s, the Scale-Up Institute and top financial firms including RBS and Goldman Sachs.

The event was opened by Stuart Miller, Chair of the SBC Management Board & CEO of ByBox Holdings Limited, giving an inspirational insight into his journey with ByBox and the value of the knowledge and advice entrepreneurs could have access to if they knew that local business schools were there to help.

Stephen Todd talked about UCL’s involvement with the 10,000 small businesses programme and a perspective from UCL ‘Why business schools would get involved in supporting small business growth?‘

Charlotte Keenan, Goldman Sachs International outlined the impact of the 10,000 Small businesses programme to date which included significant increases in turnover and profitability of the participants’ businesses. Building on Goldman Sachs’ perspective, Paula Whitehouse from Aston Business School presented the benefits of this unique partnership with Goldman Sachs and the highly positive impact it has had on local businesses and the economy.

Irene Graham, CEO of Scale-Up Institute shared inspiring and innovative ideas on ‘What we can do to help businesses scale up.’ The audience acknowledged that there was a big role for business schools to play in bridging the skills gap. One participant called this session ‘inspirational’ and ‘a real eye opener’ and will be looking more into scale-up needs!

The panel discussion with Dr Guy Brown and Emma Batey from Northumbria University, and Collin Bell from North East Local Enterprise Partnership gave an insight to what SME’s are looking to gain from business schools and shared tips on how to engage better. Emma Batey described Northampton business school’s single point of contact for enquiries coming in from SME’s enabling higher engagement and communication with entrepreneurs.

Laura Parker from RBS talked about the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement and gave insights on their growth builder programme. Laura emphasised the importance of choosing the ‘right’ and ‘engaged’ partners and highly recommended having entrepreneurs on board in the design and delivery of a growth programme.

There was a lot of buzz on twitter #SBCWorkshop2, with participants sharing their thoughts. In the words of one of our participants, ‘a really useful discussion and institutional behaviour change is my takeaway from this session’.

This was the first workshop for this academic year and there will more to follow. We are grateful to our hosts for the event and look forward to the next workshop on 14th November at Hilton Wembley. Click here for further information and to register your place