Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Aberdeen Business School has been awarded Small Business Charter accreditation in recognition of its business support, entrepreneurship education and engagement within the local economy.

The Small Business Charter celebrates business schools that play an effective role in supporting small business, local economies and student entrepreneurship. Aberdeen Business School (ABS) is one of only three university business schools in Scotland who hold the accreditation.

This will allow ABS to build on its existing support for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a range of projects and enhance its offering on a national scale. The School already delivers a number of initiatives designed to develop local enterprise and will now deliver the government funded Help to Grow scheme which will run for the next three years and has been designed to help the SME sector grow and boost the economy post-Covid.

Professor Elizabeth Gammie, head of Aberdeen Business School, said: “I am delighted that we have been successful in the Small Business Charter, this will present great opportunities for our students, as well as the local economy.

“This has been a very vigorous process to go through during this challenging year juggling a global pandemic and I cannot thank everyone at the School enough for the hard work they put into this.

“We’re looking forward to furthering our commitment to local businesses with this accreditation, as well as engaging and collaborating with other Business Schools who hold the Small Business Charter.”

Anne Kiem OBE, executive director of the Small Business Charter and chief executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: “We congratulate everyone at Aberdeen Business School for achieving the Small Business Charter Award. Their commitment to supporting SMEs and student entrepreneurship, particularly through initiatives such as the Graduate Apprenticeship scheme is excellent. It is clear that student enterprise is an integral part of the philosophy of the school.”

The School’s work in relation to graduate apprenticeships was recognised as an ‘exemplar’ by the Small Business Charter, meeting specific criteria to be considered as an example of excellence in the field. ABS developed a predominantly online graduate apprenticeship, in business management, funded by Skills Development Scotland. This supports the upskilling and reskilling of professionals and workforces for the changing working environment by providing accessible work-based learning opportunities.

In 2019, the school successfully bid to run a pilot graduate apprenticeship in accountancy, developed in conjunction with two professional bodies, allowing students to complete an honours degree and their chosen professional accounting qualification while remaining in full-time employment over five years, rather than the usual seven.

This was also recognised in the Times Higher Education Awards recently when ABS was named as Business School of the Year 2020.

To date, there are 35 business schools across the United Kingdom and Ireland, that have been awarded the Small Business Charter in recognition of their ongoing work to support small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship.

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