Brunel Business School has become the latest school to be awarded the Small Business Charter Award for the first time in 2020. The Award recognises excellence in supporting small businesses, student enterprise, and the local economy.
Brunel Business School, part of Brunel University London, has a number of dedicated small business growth and leadership programmes which it runs under Brunel Hive - an ambitious offering of innovative activities created and run by the Business School to support the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and drive collaboration with West London SMEs, as well as larger corporates. Programme attendees reported that the learning delivered was significant to their business success. Additionally the School works with Brunel’s well-established scheme for small businesses, ‘Co-Innovate’, a programme run since 2012 in collaboration with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), enabling support to 260 businesses to date, and a further 240 businesses by 2023.
SBC assessors commented that they were left in “no doubt” as to Brunel’s institutional commitment to enterprise and SME development. Brunel University’s historic roots – in innovation, enterprise and local community small business – continue to run deep, and the Brunel 2030 strategy commits the institution to ongoing engagement with local businesses. SME representation at the Board level was also reported to be strong.
Small Business Charter Executive Director, Anne Kiem, has praised the School for achieving the Award, which it will hold for the next three years. “We would like to congratulate the team at Brunel for their high-quality work in obtaining this Award. Their placements, internships and employment ties provide compelling evidence of effective collaboration between the institution and the business community, which not only clearly benefit the businesses but also the School’s academics and students.”
Fintan Clear, Director of Small Business Charter Accreditation stated that “Engagement with industry and commerce is part of Brunel’s DNA, so gaining the Small Business Charter is recognition of this and the Business School’s growing engagement activities with small firms”. He thanked Anne Kiem and her team for the support they provided, and the assessment team for the constructive and engaging manner in which they evaluated the Brunel offering. “The accreditation process has helped us better understand our strengths so we will build on this achievement, especially at a time when the Covid-19 emergency is demanding new models of working and trading”, he added. Working closely with colleagues across the University (which has been very active in regard to the health emergency) and industry contacts, Brunel Hive (Brunel Business School’s engagement platform) is developing business continuity webinars and specialist workshops to support local firms as they seek to conserve and possibly reshape their businesses in what is a new world. Professor Jane Hendy, the Dean of Brunel Business School, noted “our purpose is not just to educate the next generation of business leaders but to actively contribute to businesses by supporting the advancement and dissemination of management practice. Our Small Business Charter award affirms this commitment, and together we will shape future enterprise”.
Following Brunel’s award, there are now 35 business schools that hold the Award in the UK and Ireland.