Ten perks of being a UWE Bristol alumni

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So, you’ve graduated, hurrah! This isn’t goodbye, though. You are now part of our active network of more than 310,000 professional alumni. We have dedicated alumni and careers teams who are on hand to help you make the most of your degree and continue to grow in the working world. We’ve put together ten perks of being a member of the UWE Bristol alumni community.

1. Trailblazer Programme

Offered exclusively to UWE Bristol alumni, our Trailblazer Programme gives you a chance to build on your leadership, innovation and business skills whilst networking with other UWE alum. The programme aims to maximise personal impact, boost effectiveness and develop leadership styles.

Taking part in Trailblazer enables you to take advantage of your lifelong connection to our expertise and community. You will also gain access to a growing and vibrant community of Trailblazers with future networking events.

2. Discounted access to Postgraduate study and Executive Education Programmes

As a UWE Bristol alum, you can access our Postgraduate education courses at a 25% discount. In addition, you can browse our range of Executive Education courses and enjoy a 15% discount on the full price of our programmes. Give yourself the edge in a competitive jobs market by upskilling yourself and take the opportunity to learn something new.

3. Alumni Connect

You may have already made use of this online mentoring and connection tool (exclusive to UWE Bristol) as a student, but if not – it’s not too late to start! Alumni Connect is our free site linking students, new graduates and alumni around the world. You can use it to find UWE Bristol alumni in different industries and reach out to them for advice and tips.

4. Access to free Careers support up to 3 years after Graduation

That’s right! You can speak to a member of UWE Bristol’s Careers Coaching team for free and get personalised, impartial advice and guidance to help you start planning your future. You’re also able to attend our employer events (these are all run virtually in 2021-2022, so it’s even easier to join in). You have free access for life to our cloud-based Career Resources via the Career Toolkit to help you find vacancies, write a CV, practice aptitude tests as well as get interview tips. No one expects you to have your future all wrapped up once you graduate – together we can help you make that first step.

5. Access to desk space and business support from our University Enterprise Zone

If you have a business idea you would like to put into action, Launch Space, part of our University Enterprise Zone, can help you do just that. We’ll give you free business support and expert advice for up to 12 months so you can focus on achieving great things. We also have a small number of bursaries available for eligible entrepreneurs.

Launch Space is open to graduate-led, or early stage, businesses with high-growth potential. We’re looking for those that are working on products and services across key themes:

  • Health and life science
  • Advanced engineering
  • Digital futures
  • Sustainability and climate change

6. Alumni Membership to Centre for Music

UWE Bristol Centre for Music offers alumni a hugely discounted membership (£40 for a year – yes, you read that right!), which enables you to participate in any of our professionally directed groups, plus free access our annual programme of Masterclasses and other special events. Unfortunately, we have to reserve the booking of our spaces and studios for current students only to make sure everyone still studying can use our facilities!

7. UWE Bristol Sport

As a UWE Bristol alum, you’ll get great prices at UWE Bristol Sport when you join as a member. Choose from the all-inclusive Active Card for £17.92 per month which includes full gym access, unlimited exercise classes, access to the MOVE programme and use of the squash courts. Or opt for Gym Only at just £180 per year/£15 per month. With no contract or joining fee, fantastic facilities, high-quality equipment and fully trained instructors, make UWE Bristol Sport your go-to fitness destination.

8. Free access to LinkedIn Learning

For up to a year after you complete your course, you’ll have access to LinkedIn Learning (previously lynda.com). For those who haven’t used it before, it’s an incredible resource of training videos and resources to learn anything from leadership and management skills to Google Analytics and Photoshop. It usually costs £25 a month, so take advantage of it while it’s free!

9. Free access to BlackBullion

As a UWE Bristol graduate, you will continue to have access to the great financial education platform BlackBullion. BlackBullion offers modules and articles on all areas relating to money so you can be confident you have all the up to date info you need as you transition from student to graduate. Topics include repaying student loans, postgraduate funding, tax, investment, mortgages and much, much more! Don’t forget to make the most of this fantastic resource. Access lasts while you still have your UWE Bristol email address (about a year after your course finishes).

10. Free access to Kooth online services

UWE Bristol alumni can continue to access Kooth student for up to a year after they complete their course. You’ll have access to free online counselling, articles, forums and discussions on the site.

Student Spotlight: Charlie

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As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to recent UWE Bristol Marketing graduate, Charlie Mills, about her journey at UWE Bristol and finishing University during a pandemic.

What has been your biggest achievement during your time at UWE Bristol?

“Getting through third year during the pandemic! I’ve also got a job starting which will be working at a HR company with the Digital Marketing team which is really exciting and was a great feeling to have something secured.

Also, getting a Deans Award Certificate of Excellence for every year of study has been such an honour and so rewarding.”

What did you find challenging about University?

“My first year was rocky. I did a Foundation Year in Business and Law and found the first term really hard, so for anyone struggling when joining University it definitely gets better! I ended up making such a close group of friends on my course and had lots of fun.

I also took advantage of doing a Placement Year which was a great way to set me up for my future career and get a years’ worth of experience in Marketing before Graduating.

I have really enjoyed creating great personal and professional relationships at UWE as this is what really drives me. It is so nice to know that my lecturers are routing for me both during my time at UWE and afterwards.”

What advice would you give to new students?

“If you don’t love University straight away, and you think everyone around you is, do not panic, you are not alone! Often, people aren’t having as much fun as it looks and transitioning from school to university is hard and a massive change. You might not find your best group of friends instantly, but people change and grow so much over the 3 years you will find your people. Get stuck in with as much as you possibly can, whether it’s a sport, society, student ambassador programme etc. as you’ll meet so many like-minded people and you never know what opportunities might arise.

If you have the opportunity to do a placement or year-abroad, definitely do it. If this isn’t for you then try and make the most of the long summer holidays and take part in work experience and internships.”

Light up your Lockdown

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During the Covid-19 lockdown, four Business and Events Management students ran a virtual event aimed at raising money for a charity whilst also raising people’s spirits during a tough time. As part of their programme, they were tasked with running an event within the ‘Staging and Evaluating Events’ module, however, this time it was slightly different in that no physical events were allowed to happen and everything had gone online.

Emma, Imogen, Hannah and Maddison worked together to produce their event ‘Light up your Lockdown’ and decided that they wanted to make this a fundraising event as they wanted to support charities struggling through the pandemic. St. Michael’s Hospice (North Hampshire) was the charity chosen as Imogen and Maddison are both from the area and wanted to support the amazing work the charity does for the community, such as supporting many patients and their families in their final stages of life.

The students were tasked with hosting the event with no budget, which was tough, however, they managed to pull it off and ran a hugely successful event. It consisted of a cocktail masterclass, origami workshop, bingo and a charity raffle. The students said that they had wanted to put a different spin on the typical lockdown events they had been seeing, with virtual zoom quizzes being heavily exhausted. This paid off and they had fantastic attendance and raised £1,257 in total.

“I have had to learn to work in new ways and think outside of the box. For example, if COVID had not have happened I don’t know if we would’ve come up with the event ideas that we did – creating something unique to engage people and thinking outside of the box.”

Imogen Aylward

Student Spotlight: Carmen

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As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to Business and HR Management student, Elena Carmen Ceesay, about her journey so far at UWE Bristol. Carmen is a mature student and has recently returned to education to help her get her dream job.

What has been your biggest achievement over the past year?

“My greatest achievement is successfully passing all my exams despite all the challenges! My confidence has definitely improved and I have learnt new things that I can now apply to every aspect of my life.”

What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?

“The last year has been really challenging, not only due to the pandemic but also due to personal circumstances. I am a mature student and a working mum. It has been a struggle with childcare for my two-year-old undiagnosed autistic daughter, and I have particularly struggled with time management. It was inspiring to me to receive such good results in my first year at university and this has given me the confidence to go into my second year.

I also had doubts about fitting in with my classmates due to an age gap, however, in our team working assignments my experience benefited the whole team and we worked really well together to complete various projects.”

What advice would you give to new students or those looking into Higher Education?

“Never be scared to always improve yourself, no matter what age you are! Returning as a mature student I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, I wouldn’t have time to do what is needed and that it wouldn’t benefit me – but all those thoughts are now gone.

I would also advise new students to plan their time well and ensure that they work on assignments from the beginning of the module and not last minute. Engaging with the reading list is also important, it is there to help you, so take advantage of that list already put together for you.”

Sophie’s placement journey at MHI

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As part of his role on the Business and Management advisory board here at UWE Bristol, MHI CEO Paul Brown advocates for getting students ready for SME employment once they enter the working world. In 2019, MHI introduced the ‘MHI placement student scheme’, offering UWE students the opportunity to join the team for a year of industry experience.

We caught up with Sophie Cottrell, a Business and Marketing student on placement at MHI for the past 10 months.

How have you found adjusting from student life to working life? What have you enjoyed?

“Initially it was a challenge. The days felt long as I was adjusting to a full working day as opposed to the odd one-hour lecture. And as for student nights out, Covid has worked in my favour as I haven’t missed out on any which made the adjustment easier! I have really enjoyed having a routine. I now find that I fit so much into my days, enjoying keeping busy and feeling productive. I hope to carry this mindset into my final year of University.”

Which has been your favourite department to work in?

“This is a difficult question, as I have benefitted so much from working in different departments. It has really consolidated my knowledge of the business. But also, because I’m afraid I might offend the “marketing boys” when I say my favourite department has been Client Services. I enjoyed the process of following a job through from start to finish. I found the role challenging, with most tasks being completely new to me, but that made it even more interesting!”

What advice would you give to the next placement student?

“My advice for life is to always remember that every day is an opportunity to start afresh. If you find yourself having a challenging day, just remember that the following one comes with a fresh slate.”

What are your plans post-university?

“I’m hoping to complete a ski season in France for the winter after I graduate. I was debating doing one before Uni but thought I better at least learn to cook and look after myself before I host a chalet! I’ve been lucky enough to ski since I was 6 and love the entire experience. The feeling, the views, and the overall lifestyle. My plans are then to focus on securing a job. But for now, I would like a few more experiences before things get too serious in the world of work.”

“I’d like to thank everyone at MHI for their continued support, and I look forward to seeing how much more I can learn in my final 2 months.”

This article was originally posted on the MHI newsletter.

To hear about more stories like this, sign up for our External Engagement newsletter here.

New Course Connect Partnership with the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit

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We are thrilled to announce we have confirmed a new Course Connect partnership with the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU). This partnership will see SW ROCU linked with our Forensic Accounting module as part of the MSc Accounting and Finance programme at UWE Bristol.

What is Course Connect?

Course Connect Partnerships help bridge the gap between academia and industry and contribute to the practice focus of our programmes at UWE Bristol. Businesses can partner with us to co-create knowledge and help educate our students by supporting a module on a taught programme for two years.

Who are SW ROCU?

SW ROCU is one of nine regional units across England and Wales that delivers specialist capabilities to target and disrupt serious and organised crime. Police officers and staff seconded from the region’s five forces work alongside colleagues from UK Border Force, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

What does the partnership involve?

“This partnership will be invaluable in providing current, relevant and real-world experience for our students.

Dr Ismail Misirlioglu, Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol

Within the two year partnership period, we plan to engage with a number of activities and events, whilst working together with SW ROCU to develop materials on the curriculum. Some of the examples of potential activities will include:

  • Financial crime experts who specialise in fraud and financial crime investigations will deliver a guest lecture for the Forensic Accounting module which will be a huge benefit to our students
  • The MSc Accounting and Finance programme team, with the support of the UWE Governance and Accountability Research Group, aim to involve, where relevant, with consultancy and dissertation projects, and provide training events for financial crime investigators around accounting and finance areas with a particular focus on forensic accounting

“There’s so much to be gained from this partnership. Not only will students take ‘real life’ learning from our financial crime teams into their future roles, but our teams, which include law enforcement partners from across the region, will benefit from the latest course content and research.

The threat of economic crime, whether fraud committed against individuals and businesses or money laundered by organised criminals, continues to grow. Our work at SW ROCU isn’t just about pursuing criminals committing these crimes, but working to prevent them from succeeding. Helping businesses protect themselves against their constantly evolving methods and prepare to respond if they do happen is essential – and exactly where Course Connect fits in.”

Detective Superintendent Tina Robinson, Head of the SW ROCU

If you would like to learn more about Course Connect, please get in touch with us by emailing CourseConnect@uwe.ac.uk.

Team Entrepreneurship supports Game Changers

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The Team Entrepreneurship programme (TE) within Bristol Business School has recently invested £2500 to support its students, known as Team Entrepreneurs, in starting or further developing social enterprises and projects with social impact. Finalists in the TE Game Changers Fund competition pitched to a panel of social enterprise experts and four winners were awarded funding to take their project or venture to the next level.

The expert panel comprised of Enterprise Consultant Callum Usher-Dodd, who heads up UWE’s Student Ventures team; Nicola Telford, founder of social enterprise Views for Change; Camilla Elwood, Portfolio Manager for social enterprise charity UnLtd and Lucas Paes Gomes De Oliveira, Student President of UWE Enactus.

The winning projects/ventures were: PAVE, a mental wellbeing service providing resources for schoolchildren; organic clothing brand Organiko; Ocean Raye, a company that creates jewellery from upcycled sea glass while also carrying out beach cleans and Healthy Life Original, a start-up focused on physical health and wellbeing. Varying amounts of funding have been awarded to support the social entrepreneurs at different stages in their journey.

Kiera Hellard, founder of Ocean Raye, received funding for a silversmithing course to help improve the quality of her jewellery, thus further contributing to its sustainable credentials. Reflecting on the pitching process and the outcome of the competition, she commented:

“I’m so pleased and excited to be able to take this silversmithing course to improve my jewellery. All of the feedback received has been really helpful. I’d like to say I thought the process was great as well. It was really beneficial pitching to a panel, as it gave me an opportunity to practise my pitching and was great meeting people external to Team Entrepreneurship. I hope this is something the programme continue offering in the future as I think it could really benefit Team Entrepreneurs and might encourage more social enterprises within our community.” 

Kiera Hellard

Feedback from other finalists echoed Kiera’s comments that pitching to an external audience and receiving feedback from experts in the social enterprise domain was invaluable. Commenting on the competition and the support that was offered to Team Entrepreneurs, panellist Camilla Elwood, of UnLtd said:

It’s really encouraging to see the university supporting social enterprises in this way. The students are lucky to have such a supporting department.”

Camilla Elwood

The Team Entrepreneurship programme is delighted to have been able to offer this support to the social entrepreneurs within its community and hopes to inspire more Team Entrepreneurs to pursue projects and ventures with social impact in the future. Bringing external expertise into the programme helps to ensure that our Team Entrepreneurs are developing the knowledge and skills needed to solve real-world problems.

Five ways to up your exam game

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Exam season is just around the corner and we know that this can be a stressful time, so we have gathered our top tips from some of our Business and Law academics to give you a head start in acing your upcoming exams.

Read the question, answer the question

Lucy Rees (Associate Head of Department, Law)

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important that you carefully read the whole question thoroughly and actually answer the question. Take time to identify the key words – if it asks you to define, you get marks for defining, if you are asked to provide examples that means you will get marks for your examples. Only write what is relevant and required in the question.

Remaster the art of pen to paper

Hilary Drew (Associate Head of Department for Partnerships and Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management)

How much time do we actually spend writing these days? Writing with a pen on paper, for two and a half hours, even the thought of it is enough to make your wrists ache! When doing your revision, actually write up your notes by hand instead of typing them. Buy a fancy notebook, some highlighters, and a new pen or two! By writing your revision notes longhand, not only will you be training your arm for the exam marathon, but also engaging with your learning at a deeper level. It helps you to absorb the information you need to learn, making it easier to recall it in the exam room.

Make it easy for the person marking it

Osman Yukselturk (Associate Head of Department, Accounting and Finance)

Sometimes presentation can be as important as calculation and arriving at the result. Remember that somebody will be marking your paper, so present your work in a clear and understandable way that makes it easy for them to see how you got to the answer. Having a look at the mark allocation might give you a hint about how detailed your answer should be and how much time you should spend on it.

Prepare for the exam, not just the content

Marcus Keppel-Palmer (Senior Lecturer, Law)

Answering an exam is a skill, the same as any other skill or assessment. You get better at sport or piano by practising, and it’s the same with essays and exams. The more you practice writing out answers in full – adhering to time limits, word limits and structures – the easier it is under the extra pressure of the exam setting. If the first time you write an answer out is actually in the exam, you are trying to master a new skill under stressful circumstances. Write out your answers in full and within the time limit, then read them back. It’s amazing how you will see an improvement.

Read the entire exam paper

Yvette Morey (Associate Head of Programmes, Marketing, Events and Tourism)

Don’t dive straight in, take some time to read the entire exam paper first. Take in the scope of the paper and questions, and start thinking about what is being asked of you. By doing this, your brain will start doing some of the processing for you. Use some paper to do a rough plan of each answer – it’ll help you remember, save you time when you come to later questions, and break the paper down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

UWE Alumni Spotlight: Bristol Sport’s Growing UWE Alumni Contingent

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We caught up with some former UWE Bristol Faculty of Business and Law students who are operating within key roles at Bristol Sport – the organisation that encompasses Bristol City Football Club, Bristol Bears Rugby and Bristol Flyers Basketball, housed at Ashton Gate Stadium.

These alumni share how their UWE journey and experiences prepared them for their careers in the sport industry.

Jess Berry headshot

Name and role

Jess Berry, Head of Retail and Wholesale

UWE course studied

Business Studies

Current job role and responsibilities

“My role at Bristol Sport spans across the retail and wholesale departments for the group as a whole. The depth of my role means I can do be doing anything on a day to day basis, such as working with manufacturers to develop playing kits for rugby, football or basketball, to agreeing terms with couriers delivering our product, or attending photoshoots with players to get content for launches.

Retail is a very varied industry, but sports retail can often be hard as it can be affected by a lot of external factors, particularly on field performance. Having said that, there is a lot of scope for creativity within the job, bringing out new and exciting products to share with an engaged base of fans.

Broadly speaking my role consists of the strategy management of the retail department, ensuring revenue and profit targets are met, buying, overseeing both the bricks and mortar store as well as driving our e-commerce business. I also manage our wholesale department, which I am looking to develop over the next few years.”

How my UWE experience helped

“My course was a 4-year sandwich degree, in which I spent a year working as a recruitment consultant. I enjoyed the job, and although I didn’t feel like that industry was what I wanted to pursue, it gave me invaluable skills in how to work within a corporate environment. The sales training in particular meant I learnt key negotiation skills, and how to build lasting relationships, both of which help now with my buying, and with working with manufacturers.”

Steve Devereux headshot

Name and role

Steve Devereux, Commercial Manager – Bristol Flyers Basketball

UWE course studied

Business with Marketing

Current job role and responsibilities

“Managing, implementing and coordinating the day-to-day commercial and operational activities of Bristol Flyers Basketball Club.

My main areas of focus include:
Partnership management and activation; Commercial strategy; Commercial services co-ordination (ticketing, media, communications, retail, marketing etc.); Gameday management and delivery. Flyers are set to move to a new purpose built circa 3,000 capacity venue in the next few years (Ashton Gate Sports & Convention Centre), so I am currently focused on helping to build the commercial foundations to make this a successful transition.”

How my UWE experience helped

“Studying Business and Marketing at UWE provided knowledge and understanding of core concepts that underpin many of the activities undertaken as part of my role. However, it was my extra-curricular UWE activities that benefited me the most, specifically being president of the UWE Basketball society. This role gave me responsibility and a project relevant to my degree and future career path. We were given a budget, targets, the ability to create roles and the creative freedom to rebrand and raise the profile of the club digitally. Running this society was like running a small business and also led me to make the connections that helped me gain the job I have today.”

Rob Shotton headshot

Name and role

Rob Shotton, Commercial Account Executive/Partnership Activation Team

UWE course studied

Business and Management

Current job role and responsibilities

“At Bristol Sport, I work within the sponsorship activation team, where I ensure that all sponsors’ contractual obligations are met whilst always looking to go above and beyond the client expectation. Furthermore, I account manage over 25 main sponsors across the Bristol Sport group including national and international clients. I also work very closely with Premiership Rugby, the English Football League and their respective partners.

I work matchdays at Ashton Gate, welcoming match sponsors and ensuring that the commercial activities run smoothly. I am also responsible for ensuring that matchday assets such as the perimeter LED advertising are playing the correct content.

At Bristol Sport, we are very dedicated to changing lives through sport and inspiring the community with sporting success. To see sponsors and fans alike become engaged and passionate when it comes to sport is fantastic!”

How my UWE experience helped

“The ability to combine my University degree with a sandwich placement year was very beneficial for understanding the industry that I wanted to forge a career in. During my third year of Uni’, I secured a placement at Macclesfield Town Football Club where I worked in all departments, specifically within Commercial, Events, Media and Marketing and I was responsible for the transition of kit supplier, moving from Carbrini to Umbro. With the knowledge and business know-how gained at UWE, I was able to transfer these skills into getting the most out of my placement year.

In my final year, I was given the freedom to merge my studies with writing a dissertation on my chosen topic – Sponsorship in Sport and How it Benefits Both Parties. This is something that then helped me to understand the commercial world of sport in further detail before applying for jobs in that particular sector.”

Tom Kent headshot

Name and role

Tom Kent, Marketing Assistant

UWE course studied

Business Management with Marketing

Current job role and responsibilities

“Setting up campaign promotions including social media advertising and other paid advertising for product areas including ticketing, membership retail and hospitality. I also build and send weekly email campaigns across all the business areas (Bristol City, Bristol Bears, Bristol Flyers etc). I liaise with the internal design team & external printers to obtain departmental requirements and manage print deadlines.”

How my UWE experience helped

“My time at UWE helped me to understand the theory behind the practical requirements of my current job role. During my time at UWE, I was able to learn and understand the different areas of marketing, which I have since been able to put in to practice. This knowledge has proven to be crucial in my current job role. As well as the theoretical side of my studies in my third year at UWE I also partook in a placement year where I worked at a Bristol-based Marketing company. This year in industry was crucial for my professional development and is something I would highly recommend.”

Bristol Business School awarded the Small Business Charter

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We are proud to announce that we have successfully completed a reassessment and will continue to hold the Small Business Charter Award until 2024.

In December 2020, Bristol Business School underwent a two-day reassessment to renew the Small Business Charter. The Small Business Charter Award provides recognition to business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses, local economies, and student entrepreneurship. 33 UK business schools hold the Small Business Charter Award.

The award applies to the Bristol Business School but recognises activity across UWE Bristol. Our success is a testament to the volume and quality of work that staff undertake within our programmes, to our research and knowledge exchange culture, and to the energy and creativity of our students. Above all, the award represents excellent team working across departments, between faculties, and with colleagues in all parts of the university.

“We are delighted these business schools have again demonstrated the incredibly valuable contributions they make to small businesses and their local economies. The work that they do to help businesses grow and to support students into entrepreneurship has lasting impacts in their regional economies. Having business schools like these on the doorstep of local businesses is fantastic for our recovery, regionally and nationally. Following the announcement that the nationwide Help to Grow: Management programme will be delivered through business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter, we are pleased that these four business schools will continue to be a part of the SBC.’’

Anne Kiem OBE, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools


“I am delighted that Bristol Business School has once again been awarded the Small Business Charter, and we look forward to further deepening our relationships with other SBC schools as well as with our student, public sector and SME stakeholders. The award reflects the investment we have made over the past 5 years in enterprise education, support for businesses, and engagement with our regional, national and international networks. As we implement our UWE Bristol Strategy 2030, our focus is ever more on encouraging enterprise and supporting the SME ecology through pro-bono advice clinics, business hatcheries, programmes of professional development, funding schemes or student engagement with businesses. The SBC is a mark of the quality of our activities and an indicator of our aspirations to grow further.

Ray McDowell, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, UWE Bristol Business School

Read more about the Small Business Charter Award.