When you think of higher education, the main picture that comes to mind are sleep-deprived students proudly waving their degree certificates at Graduation after too many late nights in the library (we’ve all been there, done that!) However - Universities all over the UK are offering so many other services and schemes aimed at small businesses.
The Small Business Charter is an initiative which recognises the way businesses and Universities interlink and can feed off each other; it’s a mark of excellence which business schools can achieve by engaging in the local economy and working with small businesses. As a marketing agency, we work closely with Universities to promote the support they can offer to local business – and it’s a constant surprise how little awareness some businesses have of the whole host of support that’s open to them from the University sector!
The Small Business Charter held a recent panel exploring the role Business Incubators can play in helping fire up the local economy. I shared some of my experiences from that period and made a broader point – that our success story helps illustrate how the symbiotic relationship between business and academia can and should work to the benefit of both. So, check out what your local University is offering – and get involved!
These opportunities can also be a three-way process which benefits the University, local businesses and students and graduates. Students are regularly given ‘live briefs’ to work on, like developing corporate branding for an existing company to use, or testing and researching your offering, and placements are a good way of offering students much sought after experience in your field. Even Graduate schemes through the Universities are out there to help you acquire the next big talent. And I think it’s safe to say we’re all looking for the best out of the graduate pool to work with us!
It’s understandable if you feel like you’re just too busy to get involved, or that you’re expanding at such a rate that you just don’t have the time to being doing anything new – and chances are you’ve already got a good idea of what you’re doing. But the whole idea is that you don’t have to be a start-up to want a bit of assistance with a new product idea, or marketing strategy. Asking for help to take your business to the next level doesn’t have to be complicated or disheartening, and support from Universities can help with your expansion rather than hinder.
It’s all about investment. The Government funds these kind of things with the main agenda of wanting to create more jobs, which means businesses make more money, which means the UK economy grows bigger and better – so we all win! It’s of course not always as straightforward as that, but essentially this is what we’re all aiming for. So, don’t miss out on taking advantage of Universities and everything they offer. Go and find it, seek it out and get involved!