Hull University Business School has been awarded the Small Business Charter.
The accreditation recognises the high quality of support and advice the Business School provides to SMEs across the region, and its support of the local economy.
Crucially, it also enables the Business School to deliver the Help to Grow Programme – a 12-week intensive course for SMEs that covers areas including leadership, innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business, and financial management.
As the first provider of the programme in the East Riding of Yorkshire, it provides SMEs with a unique opportunity to upskill their business and drive growth.
Professor Stephen Hardy, dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Politics at the University of Hull, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the Small Business Charter and to be part of the Government’s ‘Help to Grow’ initiative.
“This will enable us to fulfil our mission to help rebuild of region and to support our local businesses to grow and prosper in 2022 and beyond.”
The University was assessed for the Small Business Charter in 31 areas, focused on three key themes – helping small businesses grow, engaging with key stakeholders and encouraging students to be entrepreneurial.
The Business School scored 24/31 – well above the 12/31 required to be awarded with the Small Business Charter and deliver the Help to Grow programme.
SMEs wishing to embark on the 12-week programme pay just £750 – the remainder of the cost is funded by government.
As part of the programme, SMEs also receive personalised business mentoring and will have the opportunity to work with students in the Business School to gain new ideas and insights.
Dr Dave Richards (left), pro-vice-chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of Hull, said: “This chartership is a significant vote of confidence in our Business School as being a pivotal stakeholder in the local economy, supporting SMEs and global businesses alike and providing a talent pool of future skilled employees.
“Crucially, the chartership means we can expand our offering to businesses through the Help to Grow Scheme – at a time when economic instability has perhaps never been greater, we are delighted to be playing our part in helping businesses to expand and succeed.
“Students at Hull will also have the opportunity to share their knowledge and ideas with real businesses, gaining invaluable experience and contacts in the process.”
Hull University Business School submitted a number of examples of its business engagement and support as part of the application for Small Business Charter.
Included in that was the university’s Small Business Clinic – piloted last year – which sees business students work with SMEs to help identify areas of growth and talent.
Also highlighted were a series of live projects which students at Hull can get involved in during their degree – working with companies including Cranswick, Atom Brewery and Enterprise Rent a Car.
Finally, the Business School’s ‘Entrepreneurs of Residence’ scheme was showcased to assessors. The project sees SME leaders work with the university to lead workshops and talks, sharing their experiences and bringing together networks of professionals.
The university is now looking for SMEs in the region to engage with the Help to Grow Programme.