The University officially received its Small Business Charter award from Lord Young at the House of Lords.

Kent Business School receives Small Business Charter award at event in House of Lords

Student entrepreneurship support, Kent Business Summit and engagement with local firms all cited as impressive elements of submission.

The Kent Business School (KBS) at the University of Kent has officially received its 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 award was presented by Lord Young (pictured above second from the left) to a delegation from the University led by Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox (pictured far left) at an event at the House of Lords.

Others in attendance at the ceremony were (from left to right): David Williamson, Director of External Services KBS, Professor Martin Meyer, Dean of Kent Business School, Floortje Hoette, Business Advancement and Enterprise Officer External Services and Matt Cook, Employability Points Officer.

The Small Business Charter (SBC) award is a national kitemark awarded by small businesses to recognise business schools which 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. The 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 showcases 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 and businesses of all sizes across Kent are invited to attend.

Commenting in December when the University was first told it had achieved the award Kent Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox said: ‘It is wonderful news that the University has achieved the Small Business Charter award. The University prides itself on its engagement with the community, the importance of its civic role in Canterbury, Medway and across Kent and the support it provides for student entrepreneurship. This accreditation is great recognition of the success Kent Business School has had so far in all these areas and will help further promote and enhance our work supporting our students, local businesses and the economic prosperity of the South-East.’

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.’