Aston University receives ‘social enterprise’ status

Aston University receives ‘social enterprise’ status

The university has been awarded the social enterprise mark for its work supporting the growth of businesses with a social or environmental mission.

Aston University has been given the social enterprise mark for providing vital support to businesses that put people and planet before profit.

The accreditation means Aston University has itself been recognised as a social enterprise for the work it does in supporting and developing many other social enterprises.

The mark is the only internationally available accreditation for organisations that proves they place the interests of society and the environment before shareholder gain.

Social enterprises are different to traditional businesses in that most of the money made will fulfil a social purpose, or is reinvested in the enterprise itself, its projects or a charitable arm. The more successful a social enterprise is the more social benefit it can deliver.

Supporting social enterprise is key to Aston’s mission to be the leading university for business and the professions, as well as promoting business as a force for good. The university has supported more than 150 social enterprises through a wide range of programmes, including:

  • 21 new social enterprises created via the Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN) in the last five years
  • 40 social enterprises participated in Aston’s business growth programmes in the last five years, including the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth, Pitchfest, and the Small Business Charter Growth Vouchers programme
  • 90 social enterprises supported via the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK alumni community, of which Aston is a lead delivery partner

Paula Whitehouse, associate dean for enterprise at Aston Business School, said: “Aston is one of a small handful of universities to have received this accreditation, and we are very proud to join them. The vitality of this sector is undeniable, with over 70,000 examples now in existence in the UK contributing £24bn to the economy.

“Through our leading business growth programmes, our doors are open to social entrepreneurs who want to learn how grow their business and maximise social impact, and our specialist research provides policy makers with insight to enhance support for social enterprise and inclusive mission-led SMEs. I hope this accreditation reinforces the message to entrepreneurs that we are right behind this movement.”