There have been name changes along the way, but we remain a values-led organisation embedded in the local economy. A faculty of the University of Leeds, we help to upskill the workforce, delivering impactful business research and supporting entrepreneurs, and part of our core mission is to help small businesses grow and expand. These small enterprises and businesses are at the heart of our community and economy. They are crucial to driving innovation, investment and jobs in the region.
In recognition of our work we were recently awarded the Small Business Charter award, which is a mark of excellence for UK business schools. The award celebrates the role that business schools play in supporting small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship. Alongside the three year charter, we received special exemplar status – which are considered to be examples of national excellence – for our ‘With Enterprise’ undergraduate degree programme and our ‘Enterprise ambassador’ scheme. Only a small handful of business schools are awarded more than one exemplar.
The ‘With Enterprise’ programme is an undergraduate degree for students who want to combine a specialist subject with enterprise elsewhere in the University of Leeds. This means that students can study subjects such as Biological Sciences or Theatre and Performance, alongside modules like planning and managing innovation in business, development, creativity and social enterprise.
Our approach has always been founded in the belief that the study of enterprise and entrepreneurship works best when delivered alongside another areas of learning, rather than as a bolt-on topic. This helps individuals to develop entrepreneurial approaches within the context of a particular discipline or industry.
Through our ‘Enterprise ambassador’ scheme, successful small business founders and owners contribute their time to support teaching and to mentor students. Our programme has been highlighted by the Small Business Charter as being exemplary because of the level of funding and time that our ambassadors donate to our students.
This group of 25 entrepreneurs also benefit from working with the Business School through taking on student placements and projects, where they can work with some of the brightest new graduate talent in the region.
These initiatives, led by our Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, are just two areas of support that we offer to ambitious entrepreneurs and start-ups. SPARK is the University’s award-winning business start-up service based in the Careers Centre, which helps current students and graduates. NEXUS is an incubator facility on the University campus that connects start-ups with university research, talent and facilities.
We also work with small businesses who have reached that stage of growth where they require additional expertise to help with developing a business strategy or enhancing their capabilities. In the last year we have worked with more than 100 small businesses as part of Peer Networks, a local programme of networking for ambitious business leaders. We have also launched Help to Grow, a government-subsidised management course for SME leaders looking to grow their business.
Add these initiatives together, and the answer is clear: Leeds University Business School is a game changer for local enterprise, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
You are the expert when it comes to understanding your business, product or service, but sometimes you need help to get your head out of the day job and think more strategically about the next stage of growth. Leeds University Business School can work with you to achieve this by providing a superb range of local expertise. It’s a perfect match.
Find out more at business.leeds.ac.uk/small-business