The University of Cumbria’s efforts to support small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) and the local economy have been recognised with a leading business award.
The Small Business Charter, which brings together leading business schools and SME communities across the UK, has given the University of Cumbria’s Business School a Small Business Charter bronze award in recognition of its active participation in supporting start-ups and small businesses in Cumbria and North Lancashire.
Examples of the great work recognised by the award include the Knowledge Action Network which worked with business owners over an eight-month period on growth initiatives; its Cumbria Growth hub offer, which supported business growth and sustainability through graduate projects, skills development and master classes; its Unite with Business programme that places students and graduates with businesses for knowledge and skills transfer; its Carlisle Retail project which helps local retailers compete in a global market and how its supported several student and graduate start-ups including Multi-sports childrens’ sport camps, autism and confidential rape counselling services and drama classes within schools and during the school holidays with many more student ventures currently being developed.
Sandra Booth, Pro Vice Chancellor Enterprise-Business Development & Engagement, at the University of Cumbria said, “the university is extremely proud to achieve the Small Business Charter bronze award. Whilst, as one of the UK's newest universities and we are still a relative new start-up ourselves in the world of business and enterprise, this award recognises our commitment and the strength of our broad-range of programmes to support business enterprise and growth. Particularly, amongst small businesses who are the backbone of the Cumbrian economy.
“I am especially proud of the Business School and our dedicated staff at the Business Interaction Centres who have channelled their research, training, knowledge, expertise and mentoring to support 100s of growing businesses and our own student start-ups.”
The Small Business Charter awards were established by the Chartered Association of Business Schools, Lord Young and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in order to connect SMEs with world-class business school knowledge, facilities and networks.
Ian McNaught, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter said, “we are delighted to award the Small Business Charter to the University of Cumbria’s Business School after a further round of rigorous assessments. We continue to be impressed by the level of investment and innovation showcased by schools passionate about providing core services and consultation programmes to SMEs and start-ups. Business schools are vital to the local lifeblood of the economy – their world class business expertise can have a huge positive impact to regional and national economic growth. Our 31 award-winning business schools are dedicated to making long-lasting change to the productivity and vibrant initiatives happening across the country.”
University business schools awarded with Small Business Charter awards have already directly helped over 18,750 small businesses – working with them through a range of support including on-site incubators with dedicated space for students and small businesses to start up and grow; dedicated Small Business Growth & Leadership programmes; and strong full time support networks of alumni and local business experts supporting both students and small businesses.
The University of Cumbria was established in 2007 to be ‘of and for’ Cumbria and to support the socio-economic development and growth of Cumbria and North Lancashire. The local economy in Cumbria consists of a small number of large organisations, with a predominance of SMEs. Since the inception of the university it has supported over 2,000 businesses.