Published on 07/09/2023
Aston Business School, Law School and Conference Aston building
  • Accolade recognises achievements of the Centre for Growth
  • Impact with SMEs regionally has been influential on national programme for business support
  • Work to unlock potential of ethnic minority businesses is also recognised

Aston Business School has been shortlisted in the Business School of the Year category in the 19th annual THE Awards which recognise excellence across the UK and Irish sectors.

The Business School has been shortlisted in recognition of the achievements of the Centre for Growth in supporting the development of the regional economy by working intensively with high-potential entrepreneurs and SMEs – strengthening leadership and management skills and boosting productivity.

Evaluations of the Centre’s programmes have found participants in the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth had on average a 38% increase in turnover one year after completing the programme, and 56% reported introducing new or significantly improved products or services.

In 2021/22 the Centre welcomed the tenth cohort of entrepreneurs onto the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth, an initiative started in 2014 in response to demand from early-stage businesses in the region seeking support to grow. 

More than 250 businesses have now participated in the programme and in 2021/22 the programme received a quality mark from the Scale-up Institute when it was endorsed as one of only nineteen leadership and management programmes nationally recognised in their Annual Review. 

Aston’s leadership in this area has been influential in the development and delivery of the government’s Help to Grow Management programme, benefitting thousands of small business leaders across the UK.

Launched at Aston University by Rishi Sunak in August 2021, the Help to Grow: Management programme was developed with curriculum leadership from Aston Business School’s experts in small business and entrepreneurship and is delivered by Small Business Charter accredited business schools. As well as assisting the national rollout, 115 businesses were supported at Aston through the 12-week programme, delivered throughout 2021/2022.

The Centre for Growth works alongside the Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) and Enterprise Research Centre to promote inclusive growth. A major report by CREME and NatWest informs its agenda to realise the potential of UK’s ethnic minority businesses. 

Experts say the implementation of the recommendations is helping tackle the multiple barriers faced by EMBs, particularly in accessing finance, markets and quality business support, and could increase their GVA contribution from the current £25 billion a year to £100 billion, highlighting the significant potential of EMBs to the UK economy.

This year’s ceremony will take place on the evening of Thursday 7 December 2023 at the ACC in Liverpool.

Professor Zoe Radnor, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences said:

“I am delighted that the work of the Centre for Growth and the Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) at Aston Business School has been recognised by the Times Higher Education Awards 2023. For over ten years we have been working intensely with entrepreneurs and leaders and managers within small and medium sized enterprises to help them grow and transform their businesses, establishing ourselves as a critical part of the business support and scale up ecosystem.” 

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University said:

“Aston Business School plays a leading role in supporting regional economic development through innovative, inclusive and industry relevant education and research, and by supporting high potential SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs. As we embark on our ambitious Aston 2030 strategy, I am delighted that Aston University is already being recognised for delivering socio-economic impact through transformative innovation and inclusive growth.”

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7446 910063 or email:

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