Coventry University's business school presented with award in Downing Street

University news / Business news

Thursday 05 June 2014

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Coventry University's business school has been awarded a prestigious accolade at 10 Downing Street today in recognition of the role it has played in helping to kick-start British enterprise.

The school has won a Small Business Charter award for its part in a country-wide initiative – the Small Business Charter Award Scheme – which has helped 4,700 students to find work placements in the UK's exciting micro-business and start-up sector.

Small Business Charter business schools have directly helped over 8,000 small businesses – engaging with them through workshops, mentoring and other business support. Over 800 new businesses have already been started as a result of Small Business Charter schools.

The award – which was presented during a ceremony at 10 Downing Street by Lord Young, an advisor to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise, and Sir Peter Bonfield, chair of the Small Business Charter Management Board and former chairman of BT – acknowledges Coventry Business School's dedication to helping to improve links with and support the small business community in the local area.

Last year Coventry University was highlighted in Sir Andrew Witty's influential review of universities and growth as being the UK's top university for the number of interactions with SMEs between 2008 and 2012 – with over 36,000 interactions.

Today's award brings significant benefits – it means that Coventry Business School will have the ability to play an active role in schemes such as Growth Vouchers, Growth Accelerators and Start-Up Loans provided by the government, enabling it to invest directly in new start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Jeff Clowes, acting dean of Coventry Business School, collected the award from Downing Street today. He said:

It's a privilege to be accepting this award on behalf of Coventry Business School today. Staff in the school can be proud of the work they've done not only supporting students in their academic work, but also engaging with and helping student and graduate start-ups and small businesses in the area.

Lord Young, the Prime Minister's advisor on enterprise, said:

The recipients of today's award have all demonstrated exceptional dedication to improving links with and supporting small businesses in their local area, already creating over 800 jobs.

Our world-class universities and business schools are a key part of the UK economy – even more so as a result of this initiative. I hope that these awards will be the first of many and build on the outstanding work our business schools do to boost enterprise locally.

Sir Peter Bonfield CBE FReng, chair of the Small Business Charter Management Board, said:

I am delighted to be involved with the Small Business Charter. This is an exciting initiative which recognises the value of small businesses. We have a tremendous opportunity to nurture innovation and enterprise and support the next generation of great British entrepreneurs.

Rekha Mehr, interim managing director of the Small Business Charter, said:

Micro-businesses make up 95% of UK businesses and play a crucial role in the structure of our economy. We need to further their growth and the Small Business Charter recognizes UK business schools which are doing just that. Our accredited schools have made real impact in the last 18 months, directly supporting over 8,000 businesses, placing over 4,700 students on real business projects and helping students to start over 800 new businesses.

Michael Hayman, co-founder Seven Hills and StartUp Britain and member of the Small Business Charter Management Board, said:

The Small Business Charter unleashes the full potential of business schools as an asset for British enterprise. The schools celebrated today are set to become a nationwide network of entrepreneur-focused hubs for talent, creativity and ideas. The work underway and the work to come is about backing growth by realising new sources of skill and innovation. The schools are a national asset enhancing both the scale up potential of existing firms and supercharging the UK's energetic start up culture. Today is an important point of recognition for the twenty pioneering schools that are exemplars of academia providing an infrastructure for the growth of small business. It is a culture of collaboration that is set to be accelerated as the Charter becomes a hallmark of national enterprise excellence.

About the Small Business Charter

The Small Business Charter (SBC) originated following Lord Young's report 'Growing Your Business', which was aimed at bringing business schools, business and entrepreneurs closer together to deliver real change.

Supported by the Association of Business Schools, Lord Young and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Small Business Charter Awards offers a springboard to unlocking support and investment for students, start-ups and small businesses. The Charter also follows the Association of Business Schools' Innovation Taskforce report.

For more information about the SBC: http://smallbusinesscharter.org///

For more information about Lord Young's report click here.

For more information about the Association of Business Schools' Innovation Taskforce: www.associationofbusinessschools.org/content/innovation-taskforce