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University awarded Small Business Charter status and praised for supporting businesses and students


School of Management students

‘School of Management is vital part of local economy and community’ says CEO

University of Bradford’s School of Management has been granted Small Business Charter status for its outstanding work with local businesses and creating employment opportunities for students.

The Small Business Charter is an award for the UK’s world-class business schools. It celebrates business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship and is only granted after rigorous assessment.

Professor Sankar Sivarajah, Head of the School of Management, said he was thrilled by the news.

“We are absolutely delighted to gain the Small Business Charter award, which recognises our School and University’s efforts in supporting our students and local small businesses, entrepreneurs and positively contributing to the local economy. 

“We have a long-standing commitment working with businesses and entrepreneurs in the city and region and we want to continue to grow our support to them through our School’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and new business and community engagement initiatives for the benefit of our students and local small business community.”

Career Booster

The assessment was completed online over the course of two days by the Chartered Association of Business Schools. Its panel commended the academic and professional support staff at the University of Bradford for assembling such a well organised visit. 

The report noted: “Business Schools have become more widely recognized for the role that play in stimulating growth in the economy [and to] connect to the SME community as well as promote enterprise within their own institutions. 

In assessing the School of Management, they examined its role in creating and running Knowledge Transfer Network events for SMEs and Career Booster programmes for students, both of which, it said act as a “two way street” benefiting both employers and students.

Vital part of local economy

Anne Kiem OBE, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: “We congratulate the team at Bradford University School of Management for achieving the Small Business Charter Award. Their work in supporting student employability through placement and internship schemes such as the ‘SummerExperience@Bradford’ and ‘Opportunities Abroad’ is commendable.

“It is fantastic that some of these internships were reserved for students from high deprivation areas, providing them with opportunities to gain valuable employability skills. Bradford’s School of Management is clearly a vital part of both the local economy and its community.” 

Dr David Spicer, Director of Business and Community Engagement in the Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences, said: “As a school we are incredibly proud of the great relationships we have with small businesses. Our students benefit greatly through the experiences, projects and opportunities these businesses provide and similarly we know businesses value the support offered by the School and University through our KTN and by working with us and our students.”

He added: “We have some great plans to further extend this offer and will be launching a new space on campus for businesses and students to work in collaboratively for the new academic year.”

Investment in SMEs

In 2017/18, the University of Bradford spent £6.5M with 436 small firms and  £11.1m with 320 medium sized businesses in 2018/19 and was due to exceed that this year.

It was also noted that during the pandemic alone, the University had increased its financial support to small businesses to take unemployed graduates on a 10-week paid internship.

The University was also praised for its Graduate Entrepreneur Programme and the School’s overall strategy and mission to “develop a thriving, inclusive and socially engaged community through responsible management education and research.” 

Its Digital Health Enterprise Zone was cited for supporting specialist entrepreneurs and small business growth.

The report concluded: “It is very clear the University of Bradford School of Management operates in a manner keeping with the requirements and ambitions of the Small Business Charter. The panel [was] particularly impressed with the university’s approach in keeping SMEs at the heart of the business.” 

Awards haul

The award is yet another trophy for a school which has already won global recognition for its work. University of Bradford School of Management has a globally recognised Triple Crown Accreditation from the Association of MBAs, EQUIS (European Foundation for Management Development accreditation) and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).