Lancaster University has attained the Small Business Charter Gold Award in recognition of the role it has played in helping to kick-start British enterprise.

Lancaster, through its highly ranked Management School, is a trailblazer member of The Small Business Charter Award scheme.

By receiving the award, the University has demonstrated exceptional dedication to helping improve links with and support the small business community in the local area.

The publication of Sir Andrew Witty’s report in 2013 ‘Encouraging a British Invention Revolution’ identified Lancaster as a top university in terms of the number of interactions with SMEs. An external review of Lancaster’s ERDF projects revealed Lancaster boosted the economy by £15.8 for each pound received – almost double the national average of £8.7.

Lancaster’s former leadership and management development intervention for SME owner-managers, LEAD, has supported more than 3,000 small-and-medium sized enterprise (SME) owners, creating over 10,000 jobs. In an independent evaluation, participants reported post- LEAD (per annum) turnover growth rates of 13.8 per cent, and employment growth of 16.8 per cent.

Lancaster is working hard to exploit its global reach and international contacts for the benefit of UK SMEs through projects like the Lancaster China Catalyst project. This initiative is developing collaborative research projects between UK and Chinese companies fostering innovation in small businesses to develop new products and services for export. This project is forecast to create 240 jobs within UK SMEs and boost the UK economy by £40 million.

Lancaster has also led the launch of a network of regional growth hubs as part of a £32m Government programme designed to promote economic prosperity in city areas across England.

The award brings significant benefits – it means that Lancaster University will have the ability 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 originated following Lord Young’s report ‘Growing Your Business’, which was aimed at bringing business schools, business and entrepreneurs closer together to deliver real 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 for their trail-blazing work, Lord Young – an adviser to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise, said: “The recipients of this 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 Mark E. Smith Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University said “Higher Education has a great deal to offer in fostering growth and encouraging innovation throughout the SME community. With this award, our Management School has been recognised as a real national asset to the economy.

“Lancaster University is relentless in its quest to engage with, and develop, external businesses and organisations coupling such work to its core academic excellence.”