Brunel Business School has become accredited with the Small Business Charter (SBC), joining another 33 business schools around the UK (and one in Dublin) identified as offering outstanding developmental support to small firms – ever more critical at this time of social and economic upheaval brought on through the Covid-19 emergency.
The SBC accreditation process consists of two elements. The first was a 45-page submission document which details evidence across a number of ‘dimensions’ on business engagement activities (mainly channelled through Brunel Hive and also the university-wide Co-Innovate scheme), teaching, research, and innovation and entrepreneurial support to students and practitioners. The second element was a visit to the School by the SBC assessment team, whose members combine academic business expertise in addition to business practitioner expertise. With the participation of academics, business support personnel from across the University, and a host of students, in addition to senior figures in trade bodies and business practitioners from the region that have benefitted from Brunel support, the assessment day allowed rigorous examination of all in these aspects ‘in the flesh’.
Across a number of sessions the different stakeholder groups were quizzed in depth by the assessors about their offerings and/or experiences, and whether it was academic, student or business practitioner responding, the SBC team could only deliver wholly positive feedback at the end of the day in the wrap-up session. One session was devoted to visiting facilities on campus and beyond, and after dipping into a workshop being run by the Entrepreneur Hub, one set of assessors headed off to Co-Innovate while the other went off to the CRL (Central Research Laboratory) in Hayes. One sign of the assessors’ engagement with what they were seeing (which included being hassled by an ambulant robot at the CRL) was not being able to prise them away to return for lunch on time!
When awarding the charter, the SBC noted how all the assessors commented they were left in “no doubt” as to Brunel’s institutional commitment to enterprise and SME development. So job well done, and a big thank you from the SBC accreditation team to all who contributed. Certainly the way in which all the participants pulled together on the day was impressive.