Student entrepreneurship support, Kent Business Summit and engagement with local firms all cited as impressive elements of submission.
Kent Business School (KBS) at the University of Kent has been awarded the Small Business Charter in recognition of the support it provides to small businesses in the region and the work it does across the University to support student entrepreneurship.
The Small Business Charter (SBC) award is a national kite-mark awarded by small businesses to recognise business schools that demonstrate excellence in supporting student enterprise, small businesses and the local economy. The SBC website acts as a hub connecting small businesses with business advice and support provided by the 36 business schools, which have achieved the award.
In awarding the accreditation, the SBC assessors said there were several elements of KBS’s work that it found impressive. In particular, they cited the Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise (ASPIRE) for providing excellent networking space for students and graduates starting up their own businesses and exciting opportunities for further development through mentoring and skills workshops. It said too that students benefit from the experience of being able to start up their own business as part of their course.
The SBC also noted that the support for small businesses by the business school and the University of Kent as a whole is far-reaching and has a significant economic benefit to the region. Specifically, it said the University’s commitment to local and regional suppliers through its procurement procedures has led to contracts for 1,667 small businesses and has put £26m back into the regional economy. Kent Business School also assists small businesses to recruit fresh talent by helping them to write job advertisements and then market them to graduates.
The Kent Business Summit was also cited as another excellent initiative that highlights the close working relationship the school has with local small business representative bodies such as the FSB, IoD and Locate in Kent. There are clear benefits in these organisations working together and the cohesion of this relationship is very effective in delivering for local businesses. The 2019 summit is due to take place on January 11 2019 and businesses of all sizes across Kent are invited to attend.
Kent Business School Director Martin Meyer said: ‘I am delighted about the news. As a school championing sustainable innovation, our aim is to become a hub for entrepreneurs from academe, business and society seeking to effect positive change. The Small Business Charter is a kite-mark that demonstrates we are well on our way and highlights what Kent Business School already offers to our students and stakeholders. Improving competitiveness, innovation and productivity is what small business work at KBS is about. I am also delighted that the School’s strengths in employability and student business start-up are recognised by the Small Business Charter as well. We can be proud of these achievements and will build on them.’
Anne Kiem, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: ‘We congratulate Kent Business School on achieving the Small Business Charter award. The progress the business school has made in building their relationships with local small businesses is bearing fruit and, given the strong relationships they have built with other stakeholders, is likely to bring effective support to even larger numbers of local businesses.’