Kent Business School: Supporting Enterprise & Entrepreneurial Success

As validated by our recent 3-year reaccreditation by the Small Business Charter, Kent Business School works tirelessly with current students, alumni, and business partners to grow enterprise locally in an innovative and sustainable way. Here are just some of the ways we help existing business and harness new and exciting ventures to build a better Kent:

Enabling Entrepreneurs

Did you know that Kent Business School has its very own entrepreneurial hub? Our ASPIRE centre runs regular workshops and classes aimed to inspire uni-wide students who take part to develop unique business ideas and become sustainable and ethical innovators and entrepreneurs.

ASPIRE also runs the annual Business Start Up Journey, a 15-week initiative which brings ideas to life and ends in a pitching competition where winners receive funding for their chosen venture. The centre also provides guidance and assistance for students working their SELFIE year – an exciting self-employed placement year.  See below for just a few examples of recent ASPIRE success stories:

Business and Management students Roshini Kaur and Uwais Mahmood launched milkshake brand, Docious, in 2021. Roshini (pictured top left) says: ASPIRE taught us about planning for a business, what credentials you need, things to get in place and most importantly – identifying a solution to a current problem in the market. We also met people from different corners of the globe, different courses, with different ideas – it was really inspiring.”

Lewis Squire, a former Business and Management student won The Business Start Up Awards 2020 with escape rooms concept, Reality Rooms. He says: I joined the Business Start Up Journey in 2019 when I was in my first year. Having entrepreneurs on hand to support me along the way, I soon moved on from wanting to manage someone else’s business to developing a desire to launch a start-up. It taught me steps and processes of finding a business idea that will work.  Nowhere else will you learn how to formulate an idea and let it grow,”

Accounting and Finance student Nadia Simpson (top right), also known as Ewura-esi launched her beauty brand Nadia Esi in 2020 as part of a Selfie Year. She was featured in several press publications, including Forbes. She says: ASPIRE taught me to be independent, outgoing and to take up opportunities that I would have probably said no to if I was working in on a traditional placement. I was able to see this world from a different perspective.”

High Calibre Student Support

Our students can provide valuable support to existing businesses via industrial placements, In Company Schemes, Consultancy Projects and MBA Projects.

Our Undergraduate students can opt for a Year in Industry and Postgraduate students can take up to 12-month long industrial placements, there are also more short term opportunities . Students have a good range of technical and non-technical skills to offer employers and placements can strengthen links between business and academia. Many of our students go on to graduate jobs within their placement company.

Huanna stood outside
Huanna worked with a profit recovery firm, with outstanding results

Huanna Hu is studying BSc Accounting and Finance and she took a Year in Industry at a profit recovery firm and proved the value our students can offer existing businesses.

She says: “By the end of the placement year, I was thrilled to find out the amount I’d recovered for the business was the highest out of the cohort of Year-in-industry students within my team and made a significant impact on meeting team revenue goals.”

An in-company student consultancy project offers you the opportunity to bring new expertise into your organisation through a short-term project that runs during June-August and is carried out by our Master’s students.

My Tran, who is studying an MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management completed her In Company scheme with footwear and accessories group Dune in May 2021 for her final dissertation project where she looked at reverse logistics.

CEO of Dune, Daniel Rubin said: “The [findings] very much align with our own plans. Some of her findings, especially in relation to educating customers in understanding the implications on the environment of returning product, are insightful and valuable and we will be considering them for the future.”

Other schemes include MBA Research Projects, which enables those who are studying our highly regarded qualification to tackle an existing business problem and Pitch It! where 50 undergraduate students, each working in smaller teams of 5-6, address a business challenge in a competition style.

Knowledge to Share

£40million is available to businesses seeking to innovate via our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Kent Business school has worked with the likes of Parker Steel, Priority Freight and Zero Trace Procurement on projects.

Managing Director of ZTP, Alex Hill, said of the KTP project: ‘This was our first experience with a KTP and I would recommend it to any company looking to drive innovation. Working with the University of Kent has aided us in the expansion into a number of global markets leading to the ability to support clients internationally.’

Our expert researchers are also on hand for consultancy projects and partnerships, Kent Business School was the lead in an research and innovation project with the Port of DoverP&O FerriesWMG at the University of Warwick and Schneider Electric to investigate steps towards decarbonisation of the cross-Channel ferry fleet. This is part of the national priority of achieving net-zero by 2050.

Networking Events

The Kent Business Summit is an annual event organised in partnership with the Institute of Directors (IoD), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Locate in Kent (LiK).

Business Soundbites networking events pair external experts with KBS academics to debate their views on economically relevant topics to an audience of regional stakeholders. Business Soundbites take place regularly, at our state-of-the art Sibson building in Canterbury, on Medway campus, or ‘on location’ in Kent

We also run regular webinar series such as our virtual Unfinished Business series that ran in 2021 covering issues from digital skills in the labour market to entrepreneurship.

Click here for more information on our links to the business world, ASPIRE and other ways our students and academic staff can help improve your business.

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