THE Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham has earned the Small Business Charter Silver Award in recognition of the role it has played in helping kick-start British enterprise.

The Small Business Charter Award scheme has helped 4,700 students to find work placements in Britain’s micro-business and start-up sector.

Small Business Charter business schools have directly helped more than 8,000 small businesses, working with them through workshops, mentoring and other business support. More than 800 new businesses have already been started as a result of Small Business Charter schools.

By receiving the award, Birmingham Business School has demonstrated dedication to helping improve links with and support the small business community in the local area. Benefits of the award are that the school will be able to play an active role in schemes such as Growth Vouchers, Growth Accelerators and Start-Up Loans provided by the Government, meaning they can directly invest in new start-ups and entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Charter Award ceremony took place at 10 Downing Street. The awards were presented by Lord Young, an adviser to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise and Sir Peter Bonfield, chairman of The Small Business Charter Management Board and former chairman of BT.

The Small Business Charter originated following Lord Young’s report, Growing Your Business, which was aimed at bringing business schools, business and entrepreneurs closer together to deliver change.

Supported by the Association of Business Schools, Lord Young and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Small Business Charter Awards offers a springboard to unlocking support and investment for students, start-ups and small businesses. The Charter also follows the Association of Business Schools’ Innovation Taskforce report.

Congratulating the Small Business Charter award-winners, Lord Young said: “The recipients of [the] award have all demonstrated exceptional dedication to improving links with and supporting small businesses in their local area, already creating over 800 jobs.

"Our world-class universities and business schools are a key part of the UK economy, even more so as a result of this initiative. I hope that these awards will be the first of many and build on the outstanding work our business schools do to boost enterprise locally.”

Professor Simon Collinson, Dean of Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, said: “I am thrilled that Birmingham Business School has received the Small Business Charter Award. At the University of Birmingham we are absolutely committed to supporting local and regional businesses and this is testament to our continued innovation to develop these relationships.

"This award also comes shortly after Birmingham Business School joined just a handful of the world’s business schools that hold the gold standard of triple-crown accreditation, from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).

"We truly deserve our place in the top elite of global business schools.”

Sir Peter Bonfield said: “I am delighted to be involved with the Small Business Charter. This is an exciting initiative, which recognises the value of small businesses. We have a tremendous opportunity to nurture innovation and enterprise and support the next generation of great British entrepreneurs.”

Rekha Mehr, interim managing director, Small Business Charter, said: “Micro-businesses make up 95 per cent of UK businesses and play a crucial role in the structure of our economy.

"We need to further their growth and the Small Business Charter recognises UK business schools who are doing just that. Our accredited schools have made real impact in the last 18 months, directly supporting over 8,000 businesses, placing over 4,700 students on real business projects and helping students to start over 800 new businesses.”

Michael Hayman, co-founder of Seven Hills and StartUp Britain and member of the Small Business Charter Management Board, said: “The Small Business Charter unleashes the full potential of business schools as an asset for British enterprise. The schools celebrated...are set to become a nationwide network of entrepreneur-focused hubs for talent, creativity and ideas.

"The work under way and the work to come is about backing growth by realising new sources of skill and innovation. The schools are a national asset enhancing both the scale-up potential of existing firms and supercharging the UK's energetic start-up culture."