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Professor receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion

Professor Mark Hart

21 April 2014

An Aston University Professor who has ‘changed the world of enterprise research, policy and practice’ has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion 2014.

Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School has dedicated over 35 years to researching and teaching in the area of SMEs and entrepreneurship.

The Queen’s Award recognises those individuals who have played an important role in promoting enterprise skills and supporting entrepreneurs. The winners are decided by Her Majesty the Queen following recommendations from the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee and Award Judging Panel.

Professor Hart, a highly respected international scholar, has held the Chair in Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston University since 2008.   He is also currently the Programme Director and Academic Lead on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the Midlands and is Deputy Director of the national Enterprise Research Centre, which has as its mission to understand the drivers of small business growth.

His exceptional academic and research work in the field of entrepreneurship and small businesses, including high-growth firms, has been utilised to inform Government business support policies and to shape policy discussions – particularly where there are barriers to enterprise. In 2013, he was invited by Lord Young to chair the Executive Group leading the development of a Small Business Charter which was launched in 2014, and provided key inputs into the business support component of the private sector work stream for Lord Heseltine’s Greater Birmingham Project.

In 2012, Mark produced two major reports for RBS on youth entrepreneurship and women’s enterprise that have been influential in shaping the policy of the banks in supporting and funding enterprise amongst young people and women. He jointly manages the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) UK project - GEM is the largest survey-based study of entrepreneurship in the world involving over 70 countries.  

In addition to his academic work, Prof Hart, continues to offer advice to new businesses through voluntary activities, examples of which include: PRIME (Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise) focusing on how to promote enterprise in the over 50s and Tsu-Chu Biz which runs enterprise and leadership skills courses engaging disillusioned young people in some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Over 1,000 teenagers have participated in the Tsu-Chu Biz course, which culminates in the creation of a ready-to-go small business based on their own ideas and interests.

Professor Dame Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University, said: “Professor Hart has achieved significant impact with thousands of individuals and SMEs through successfully translating his internationally recognised research into practical outcomes for small businesses and entrepreneurs. He has undoubtedly changed the world of enterprise research, policy and practice. Everyone at Aston joins me in congratulating him on this exceptional recognition.”

Speaking about his Award announcement, Professor Hart, said: “I am delighted to have played a part in the promotion of entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses as together they are the driving force behind the way the UK economy has begun to show signs of recovery.  It has been a real privilege to work with so many small business owners and entrepreneurs on a range of exciting projects and initiatives.  Watching their ideas transform into significant business entities creating jobs and wealth across the regions has provided a living laboratory for the research and policy work I lead on at Aston and which I put into practice in my charitable roles. As universities are being increasingly asked to do more for small business I am pleased that at Aston I have found a perfect partner and this prestigious Award is a reflection on the team around me as we seek to respond to the challenge.”

Winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise receive an engraved crystal chalice and ceremonial Grant of Appointment, and are invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace, this summer.

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For further media information, please contact Alex Earnshaw, University Communications on 0121 204 4549 or a.earnshaw@aston.ac.uk