Frequently Asked Questions

What is regarded as ‘a conflict of interest’ for an assessor?

There is bound to be an interaction between members of the business schools. Therefore, merely knowing a member of the staff, or working with staff members on external projects or examining students at the applicant school will not be necessarily a conflict of interest. SBC should always inform the applicant school details of the assessors and any interests that they have declared. Get approval from the applicant school that they do not have a conflict of interest with the assessors. Typically a conflict is when assessor panel or their institution is involved in the project that will be cited and reviewed in their application..

How does the SBC protect our data during the application process?

The application form will be shared with the assessors panel and the voting members of the SBC Management Board. SBC will not share information to anyone else. If your school is awarded an Exemplar, SBC will consult with the primary contact to edit any information that they wish to remain confidential. In the past, one business school had asked Anne Kiem to sign a confidentiality agreement. We would be able to follow this process if requested by the business school. The assessor and work-shadow contracts contain a clause for confidentiality.

How should the evidence be presented to the assessors on the assessment day?

Evidence can be provided in the paper form or electronic form, although we recommend electronic form. If in paper format – A full set of evidence neatly labelled by dimension and section. Each assessor including the work shadow member should receive a full copy of the evidence file. If in electronics format – A full set of evidence neatly labelled by dimension and section. Each assessor including the work shadow member should receive a full copy of the evidence. Laptop for each assessor including work shadow representative will need to be provided.

Who will be the main point of contact throughout my application?

The SBC liaison will be your contact for all enquiries related to your application. If we are not able to solve your query, we will get in touch with the ‘assessor chair’ to clarify.

What is SBC’s definition of ‘SME’ or “small business”

We generally use the EU definition of SME, which is up to 250 employees. While we take into account entrepreneurs, start-ups, micro-businesses, social enterprises, charities, and the nuances between all of these, for the sake of your application we are measuring your ability to work with SMEs of any of these kinds.

What will the universities want from me/my business?

SBC schools work closely with a number of different businesses for very different reasons. Some seek to enrol them on courses which help the businesses achieve growth and success. Many run entrepreneur-in-residence programmes in which businesses will operate from the university in close relationships with students, offering them mentorship and advice. Others like to seek out internship and placement opportunities for their schools. Each relationship between the business school and a small business is unique and the best way to find out what they would want from you is to get in touch.

Do the SBC schools offer space for small businesses?

Yes, SBC schools offer space for businesses like yours at a low cost. In addition, you will have access to the university for advice and support, connections with start-up advisors and other businesses based on the university campus.

How can SBC schools support my business?

The SBC schools offer short courses, workshops, networking events. The schools have specialist areas they can offer support on. Our schools have the knowledge, expertise and resources to offer business advice and support to help your business grow.

Why are the SBC schools ‘a go to’ place to ask for support?

Business schools need to undergo a rigorous assessment process to achieve the SBC award and will be evaluated for their engagement with businesses and supporting small firm. Meaning the school will have a lot of experience and expertise in supporting business’s like you.

Which schools currently hold the SBC award?

Please click here for a list of SBC award holding schools.

If the business school does not qualify for the 5 year award, will it automatically be considered for the 3 year award?

Yes. Any business school that applies for a 5 year award but is found not eligible, will automatically be considered for a 3 year award by the assessor panel and by the SBC Management Board.

What is the duration of the award?

There are two categories of award: 3-year Small Business Charter Award: For schools meeting the entry requirement for 12 out of the 31 dimensions, from a fairly equal distribution across three sections. 5-year Small Business Charter Award: For schools meeting the entry requirement for 21 out of the 31 dimensions, including achieving a minimum of 7 dimensions from each section.

What are the fees for the Small Business Charter award?

The application fees are £5000. Additional costs include the cost of the assessor’s travel and accommodation. All attempts will be made by the SBC team to keep the cost of travel low. Once the school is awarded the Charter award, there is an annual award fee of £6000 to maintain the award.

When can the application be made?

Applications can be made at any time of year.

What is the assessment process?

Business schools will need to submit a completed application form followed by a visit by a panel of three assessors to verify the evidence. The assessor panel will make a recommendation for the award and the decision will be made by the SBC Management Board.

What is the criteria for application?

To be eligible to make an application, the business school will need to be a member of the Chartered Association of Business Schools. The minimum entry requirement is to meet 12 out of the 31 dimensions with at least one from each section. You can find more information about the process here.

Where can I find the application form and guidance notes?

Click here to download the application form and guidance notes.

Where do we begin with the application process?

By registering your interest to the Anne Kiem, the Executive Director at