Chester contributes to Government report to boost the UK economy

A report by a Government task force, with contributions from the University of Chester, has examined how business schools across the country can work with Medium Sized Businesses (MSB) more effectively.

Professor Phil Harris, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning and Westminster Chair of Marketing and Public Affairs at the University of Chester was part of the task group advising Government on how MSBs could become more successful and engage with business schools in their respective areas. The report reveals that while there are some excellent examples of good practice the two types of organisations can work together more efficiently.

MSBs have specifically been identified in the Government’s Growth Review as the 10,000 or so firms in the UK which are not classed as SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) or big firms. They account for around one fifth of private sector employment and turnover by represent only 0.2% of firms. They are distributed across the country and cover a range of sectors and are often well-established and successful.

In October 2011, the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) published a report examining MSBs and their growth potential. Following this, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) set up the UK Business Schools Task Force to advise Government on how business schools can engage better with MSBs to support their economic growth. The Task Force includes representatives from a range of business schools from across the UK, the CBI, the Association of Business Schools (ABS) and the Foundation for Management Education. Employers and representative bodies were also consulted.

The Task Force was set two main aims – to explore how business schools in the UK can help develop the management skills of MSBs to attract and retain the best graduates and leaders and to drive forward changes or additions to relevant courses and relationships with the MSB cohort and other bodies who may help support delivery and better promote the activities that are already taking place, particularly to MSBs.

Professor Harris said: “It was extremely interesting to work on this project which will promote the connections between business schools and MSBs and the sharing of ideas.

“The report recognises that business schools are a key resource for the economic growth of the UK. Business schools are a useful resource with many areas of expertise to offer MSBs and in turn we can learn from their skills and knowledge. By working together business schools and MSBs could help to boost the UK economy.”

There are currently around 130 business schools in the UK, the majority of which belong to Universities. The Task Force has undertaken an extensive programme of research including interviews with a wide range of business schools and businesses.