The Association of Business Schools participates at party conferences

The Association of Business Schools, alongside the Small Business Charter, hosted a series of fringe events during party conference season which debated a series of proposals to further promote the essential role business schools can play in facilitating local economic growth.

The conference season began with the launch of our Manifesto for Growth at the Labour Party Conference. The manifesto calls on an incoming government to adopt three pledges which will release the potential of business schools to support growth in their local economies:

  • Recognise business and management education and research in STEMM
  • Include business schools in local growth policies and business support initiatives
  • Remove international students from net migration targets

Opening the conference roundtables, our ‎acting Chief Executive Dr Julie Davies said: “The UK’s business schools contribute export income of approximately £2bn annually by offering the most popular university programmes and teaching 40% of the international students in UK universities. Yet by not removing international students from net migration targets or failing to recognise the value of business and management education and research in STEM, the UK is losing soft power globally. By being less open to recruit the most talented students from around the world, we are closing courses and international student recruitment is becoming London centric.”

At the Conservative Party Conference, we were joined by Lord Young, the Prime Minister's Adviser on Enterprise and a host of prominent speakers in a discussion that centred on the actions of a 2015 government which could support small businesses and local economic growth. There were also discussions on student entrepreneurial spirit and exploration of the best methods to engage STEM students in the opportunities of commercialisation.

Our Association Chair, Professor Angus Laing said: “There was some very interesting discussion on the panel and from the audience on how business schools can promote local growth including looking at the role that the SBC is playing to promote closer community and business school links. It was good to see a wide range of interests represented in the audience from start-ups and social enterprises, local councillors and business organisations."
Panel speaker, Professor Lynn Martin of Manchester Metropolitan University Business School said “I am proud to have worked with 2000 SMEs at MMU in the last 5 years, through programmes like the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme and the Knowledge Action Network, however, it is still important that we increase our support for start-ups, SMEs and social enterprises.   Strong relationships between companies and business schools are crucial to ensure that the UK has the higher level skills it needs to grow its economy in the future – being accredited by the SBC demonstrates our commitment to this at MMU Business School."
Speaking at the Liberal Democrats party conference, Senior Policy Advisor of the Federation of Small Business Schools, David Nash said “The government needs to get better at signposting support that is available from business schools.”

We would like to thank the following participants for speaking at our roundtable events this year:  

Conservative Party Conference

- Prof. Lynn Martin, Associate Dean and Director of the Centre of Enterprise, MMU Business School
- Dr Julie Davies, Acting Chief Executive, Association of Business Schools
- Graeme Fisher, Head of Policy, FSB
- Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
- Aaron Porter, Director of External Relations, NCUB
- Sam Jones, Head of Communications, University Alliance
- Ryan Shorthouse, Founder & Director, Bright Blue

Labour Party Conference

- Lord Young, Prime Minister’s enterprise adviser
- Prof. Angus Laing, Chair, Association of Business Schools
- Prof. Simon Collinson, Dean, Birmingham Business School
- Prof. Mark Hart, Economics & Strategy Group, Aston Business School
- Michael Hayman MBE, Co-Founder, Seven Hills and Co-Founder, StartUp Britain
- Petra Wilton, Director of External Relations, CMI

Liberal Democrats Party Conference

- Gordon Birtwistle MP, Spokesperson on Business, Innovation & Skills, Liberal Democrats
- Jerry Forrester, Dean, University of Hertfordshire Business School and Chair, Teaching & Learning Committee, Association of Business Schools
- Prof. Eleanor Shaw, Head, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde Business School
- David Nash, Senior Policy Advisor, FSB
- Craig Kennedy, Council Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce