Celebrating, supporting and engaging with small businesses

Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday

Oxford Brookes Business School supports Small Business Saturday

To recognise the significant impact of small businesses, representatives from Oxford Brookes Business School (OBBS) attended two events this week. Celebrations will culminate in the 10th annual Small Business Saturday on 3 December.

On Tuesday 29 November, Dr Lauren Tuckerman, Dr Sara Le Roux and Daniel Simpson celebrated 10 years of Small Business Saturday at the House of Lords in London. Oxford Brookes University honorary graduate, Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Saturday and Small Business Britain, described the sense of optimism among small businesses despite the costs of doing business spiralling so it's more important than ever that we support them this festive season. Other speakers at the event included Kevin Hollinrake, Small Business Minister, and Jonathan Reynolds, Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy.

On Wednesday 30 November, Professor Tim Vorley attended a small businesses showcase at Downing Street. The event was attended by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who championed support for small business through the Help to Grow programme when he was Chancellor. As a Small Business Charter holder, OBBS is proud to be delivering the Help to Grow programme which is designed to kick-start the potential of ambitious small business owners to grow their businesses.

The team at the Oxford Regions Innovation and Enterprise Lab (ORIEL) are engaged in a range of collaborative projects with and for small businesses. These include our recently published report with Small Business Britain on Small Business Sustainability, analysis of how small businesses have been impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as research with Innovate UK examining how the pandemic impacted innovative businesses.

Colleagues at OBBS regularly work with small businesses on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). One of our current KTPs sees Dr Karla Zimpel-Leal and Professor Tim Vorley working with LCMB Building Performance to identify and implement opportunities for business model innovation. Dr Jeremy Zwiegelaar is leading another KTP with ProspectSoft Ltd delivering an enhanced analytics business-to-business (B2B) CRM system.

Collaborating with small businesses helps us connect theory and practice in our teaching. At every level, students are given the opportunity to work with small businesses to gain that pragmatic insight into running a business. In the last year, our students have worked with great small businesses such as Human Story Theatre, Reach Magazine and Celestia UK to deliver consultancy projects. During our annual Business Challenge week, students from across the University worked with local organisations on some of their most pressing challenges. The winning team was working with Lightricity - a small business providing new technologies in photovoltaic light systems.

In 2022, OBBS partnered with Small Business Britain in the design and delivery of Small Business Sustainability Basics. This programme has now supported 1,300 small businesses to understand and implement the basics of being a more sustainable business. While in conjunction with Oxfordshire Business First and Oxford City Council, OBBS has delivered Taming the Carbon Monsters - training programme to support businesses on their journey towards Net Zero.

So as Small Business Saturday looms, we’re encouraging staff, students and the wider community to think small business and shop small. Below are details of small businesses based in Oxfordshire - so show your support and tell us about your favourite small businesses!

  • Ducky Zebra
  • The Oxford Artisan Distillery
  • You Underwear
  • Jericho Coffee
  • Wicked Chocolate
  • Gulp Fiction
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Broken Spoke
  • Turl Street Kitchen
  • And check out Independent Oxford for a host of local independent businesses