Small Business Charter at Labour Party Conference 2014

The Small Business Charter and Association of Business Schools hosted an event Supporting Small Businesses and Local Economic Growth at the recent Labour party conference in Manchester. The event highlighted the integral role that business schools play in creating local economic growth, and how this can be further enhanced through improving engagement with businesses in their area. ABS launched its Manifesto for Growth at the event in which it calls on an incoming government to adopt three pledges which will release the potential of business schools to support growth in their local economies:


  • Recognise business and management education and research in STEM
  • Include business schools in local growth policies and business support initiatives
  • Remove international students from net migration targets

The event was chaired by Dr Julie Davies, Acting Chief Executive, ABS and SBC and ABS were delighted to be joined in this discussion by Professor Lynn Martin, Director, Centre of Enterprise, MMU Business School; Graeme Fisher, Head of Policy, FSB; Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Aaron Porter, Director of External Relations, NCUB; Sam Jones, Head of Communications, University Alliance; and Ryan Shorthouse, Founder & Director, Bright Blue.

Commenting on the event Dr Julie Davies said: “I was pleased to introduce the ABS’s Manifesto for Growth at this event. The UK’s business schools contribute export income of approximately £2bn annually by offering the most popular university programmes and teaching 40% of the international students in UK universities. Moreover, business schools represent anchors for local economic growth and key translators for innovation, enterprise and leadership to commercialise our science and technology expertise.

“Yet by not removing international students from net migration targets or failing to recognise the value of business and management education and research in STEM, the UK is losing soft power globally. By being less open to recruit the most talented students from around the world, we are closing courses and international student recruitment is becoming London centric. This contradicts the government’s policy agenda for localism and job creation, and has led to our Manifesto for Growth which we want to see adopted by the incoming government in 2015.”

Professor Lynn Martin added: "Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Business School is proud to be one of holders of the SBC Small Business Charter trailblazing awards as a result of its long track record of excellence with small firms and start-ups.  I was delighted to be on the panel at the ABS Labour Fringe Event. There was some excellent discussion generated amongst the panel and the audience about multiple activities of business schools, especially on at the importance of business schools building relationships with local businesses.  It was pleasing that everyone in the room agreed that international students should be removed from net migration figures as this policy is damaging to the UK both in the short and long term, at home and abroad to ensure the right talent is in place for further economic needs.

"International work is a big part of our focus at MMU but I am also proud to have worked with 2000 SMEs at MMU in the last 5 years, through programmes like the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme and the Knowledge Action Network, however, it is still important that we increase our support for start-ups, SMEs and social enterprises.   Strong relationships between companies and business schools are crucial to ensure that the UK has the higher level skills it needs to grow its economy in the future – being accredited by the SBC demonstrates our commitment to this at MMU Business School."