Staffordshire University Business School earns Small Business Charter award
I am really proud that Staffordshire University was recently awarded the Small Business Charter (SBC), as one of only 33 Business Schools in the country to receive the award.
The Small Business Charter is an award for business schools recognised for their excellence in supporting SMEs. Delivered in partnership with the Chartered Association of Business Schools and with the support of Lord Young and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the SBC brings business schools and entrepreneurs closer together to deliver support for small businesses and drive local economic growth.
Dr Peter Jones, Dean of Business and Law, describes this award as “testimony of the support we provide to small businesses, business start-ups and the local economy”. Similarly, the SBC says Business schools are vital to the local lifeblood of the economy – their world class business expertise can have a huge positive impact to regional and national economic growth.
Small businesses are the work engines of the economy, and in turn Business Schools should be supporting the small business agenda regionally. This is important wherever you are in the UK, but especially for cities outside of London and the northern powerhouses where the locally economy has a greater reliance on SMEs, as there are simple, less large scale employers. In places like Stoke-on-Trent where Staffordshire University I based, and the wider Midlands region post Brexit (actually pre Brexit) Business Schools, Small Businesses and entrepreneurs need to have a functional synergy to help drive the economic renaissance of the regions cities and towns.
This award was the fruition of a lot of hard work and a rigorous assessment to demonstrate the excellent work we do with local businesses, students and wider stakeholders to promote enterprise. We were able to showcase many areas of excellence including the success of our Graduate Start-up scheme `Be Inspired`.
We were delighted to be joined for the presentation of the Small Business Charter by two of our start-up companies; The National Enterprise Challenge and Reels in Motion. Both enterprises have gone from strength to strength and show what impact the right support can have on your business in the early years of trading. Furthermore, in addition to providing budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to start their business with the full support (including training, mentoring, and financial assistance and networking opportunities) during start-up and their first vital steps of growth, ‘Be Inspired’ also offers small businesses a dedicated one stop shop for information, advice and guidance, business events, networking opportunities, access to finance, important contacts and effective signposting.
One of the case studies presented for the assessment was our collaboration with and funding provided through Stoke-on-Trent City Council which led to opportunities for employees in ceramics, engineering and manufacturing to develop their leadership skills on a Level 5 University Diploma. Around 120 managers from a range of SMEs enhanced their leadership, change management and team development skills. Another highlight is our contribution to Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW); a week of events designed to encourage students and graduates to learn more about enterprise and becoming their own boss.
Peter Jones comments that Staffordshire University’s School of Business, Leadership and Economics is proud to be part of a team of SBC members who can share ideas, good practice and continue to develop the excellent work we do. He also believes the award demonstrates the excellent commitment of our staff, students and other stakeholders in stimulating enterprise and entrepreneurship activities through practice-based learning and applied research.
Staffordshire University’s strategic plans positions itself as the “Connected University” - connected to the needs of our students, business, society in our region and beyond. Achieving SBC status is the living embodiment of this ethos as an important part of our work that we remain fully and absolutely committed to.
Hazel Squire, Senior Lecturer, School of Business, Leadership and Economics, Staffordshire University