Supporting students and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) through enterprise

Kingston University has an impressive record of supporting students and local businesses through a range of services, networking events, seminars and workshops. For example, over 100 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships has been set up in the last 20 years. Find out more about what we have achieved.

Whether you want to develop a new product, increase efficiency, fill a knowledge gap, become more innovative, or upskill your staff, Kingston University is open for business. The University is home to an eclectic talent pool made up of our academics, researchers, students and graduates who continuously create and deliver opportunities to work collaboratively with a diverse range of organisations, from start-ups to large corporates in the public, private, not-for-profit and third sectors.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can support you.

Supporting our students

Kingston University offers a range of support for students to help them develop their enterprising skills.

Graduate start-ups

Graduate start-ups

Graduate start-ups

The Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey reported in 2018 that, for the eighth year running, Kingston was one of the top two universities in the country for the number of graduates starting their own companies. QS also rates it number one in world for MBA graduate start-ups.

Employability and personal skill training

Employability and personal skill training

Employability and personal skill training

We support students to find and secure placements to enhance their transition from university to the world of work. Kingston University's previous placement providers include Airbus, Avios, G4S, Health Insight, Marks and Spencer, Morgan Stanley, Telefonica O2 and Walt Disney. We regularly receive excellent feedback from these companies and many go on to offer permanent positions to our students.

Competition, workshops and events

Competition, workshops and events

Competition, workshops and events

Enterprise Education develops vital skills that will help students grow personally and professionally and promote themselves and/or their business idea. These skills and an entrepreneurial mind set are crucial for any future career option and including exciting opportunities such as the Bright ideas competition, workshops and events, mentoring, funding and our HackCentre.

Enterprise-focussed courses

Enterprise-focussed courses

Enterprise-focussed courses

Kingston Business School offers a range of enterprise-focussed courses: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management BSc (Hons), Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship MSc, International Business Management with Entrepreneurship MSc and Managing in the Creative Economy MA. These courses offer many opportunities for collaboration with SMEs: the Development and Growth of SMEs module engages local small businesses as case studies, and students on the Entrepreneurship Experience module solve business challenges presented by SMEs.

Engage with the local community

Engage with the local community

Engage with the local community

The Kingston Hub – made up of the Social Innovation Programme and Service Learning Programme – provides opportunities for students to tackle social challenges and engage with the local community. Whether you'd like to mentor school pupils or tackle elderly isolation, you'll give back and gain valuable experiences for yourself.

Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise

The Business School has strong links with Young Enterprise, an organisation who works directly with young people, teachers, parents, businesses and influencers to help build a successful and sustainable future for all young people and society at large. Our students have an exciting track record of winning YT competitions.

Careers and Employability Service

Careers and Employability Service

Careers and Employability Service

Our dedicated Careers and Employability Service offers an array of support to all our students, from jobs fairs, internships and working abroad, to interview skills and CV writing. All Kingston Business students are encouraged and supported to undertake work placements, both at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Even if you have graduated from Kingston, you can still access our services and get involved. We also have a strong focus on building strong relationships with major and local employers. Find out what we can do for your organisation.

Kingston Business Society

Kingston Business Society

Kingston Business Society

The student-led Kingston Business Society hosts guest speaker sessions, networking events, and competitions throughout the academic year, as well as provides support and assistance for those interested in entrepreneurship and business. They work closely with Business School staff, have links with local entrepreneurs and engage their own sponsors.

Start-up support services

Start-up support services

Start-up support services

The Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey reported in 2018 that, for the eighth year running, Kingston was one of the top two universities in the country for the number of graduates starting their own companies. QS also rates it number one in world for MBA graduate start-ups.

Whether students want to create their own business, solve global problems or boost their employability skills, the Kingston Business School Start-up Services can help. The team offer a wide range of initiatives for students and recent graduates to turn knowledge and ideas into the solutions that benefits us all, via engaging with the business community, providing access to expert advice, practical support and networking opportunities.

You can view the Student Start-up Support Impact Report here.

Supporting small to medium enterprises (SMEs)

Businesses have access to support and expertise through Kingston University, including:

Small Business Research Centre

Kingston Business School is home to the Small Business Research Centre – one of the UK's top centres for study and support of SMEs since the 1980s, which engages in a wealth of research projects (current and completed).

Most research involves direct engagement with SMEs, their owners and staff to build a picture of the real world of SME activity.

Upgrade Masterclasses

Kingston University Alumni and Kingston Business School host Upgrade Masterclasses, a collaborative series of events for entrepreneurs.

The masterclasses explore a variety of different areas, with the intention of developing skills and 'upgrading' everyone who attends.

As well as self-improvement, the masterclasses provide a fantastic opportunity for students, alumni and industry professionals to network and share ideas.

Chartered Association of Business Schools' Leading to Grow Programme

We are part of a consortium of business schools supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs by delivering the Chartered Association of Business Schools' Leading to Grow Programme.

The programme helps small business owners to explore digital and new technologies suited to their business goals, and to develop the management capabilities they need to implement the technologies.

Networking and research-sharing conferences

Kingston hosts a number of networking and research-sharing conferences for entrepreneurs and SME networks, for example Entrepreneurial Finance for Green Innovative SMEs, and the international Entrepreneurship Policy in Context – Critical Perspectives, hosted by the Small Business Research Centre.

A regular series of free seminars is also hosted by the SBRC, and are open to all.

Consultancy and research

Through academic consultancy, student consultancy and research, our subject experts provide bespoke research and development services to businesses that have real impact.

Read more about consultancy and research >

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

We engage in part government-funded initiative enabling forward-thinking businesses to harness universities' expert knowledge, technology and research to help them improve their processes and products, via innovative projects.

Read more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships >

Impact Reports

How students and SMEs benefit each other

Kingston University organises a range of activities to facilitate knowledge exchange between student, staff and SMEs, including:


The University has strong relationships with many local organisations – including Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Young Entrepreneur Club – which champion the interests of town centre businesses and encourage young local entrepreneurs to network and grow. These organisations often offer student/graduate mentoring, provide challenges for Hack events, evaluate student pitches and proposals and attend networking events.


The premium Strategy into Practice seminar series – which has been running at Kingston for over a decade – is an opportunity to gain insights of strategy within business and not-for-profit corporations.

Top executive guest speakers (past speakers have included Metro Bank mogul Vernon Hill and Lebara Group founder Yoganathan Ratheesan) give first-hand accounts on strategic challenges in their industry and how they steer their organisation to compete successfully, dealing with complex issues such as international growth, innovation and corporate social responsibilities.

Attendees have the opportunity to ask questions and network after each session with the speaker, other local business leaders and students, alumni and from Kingston Business School.


The annual Women Entrepreneurship Week event, held in conjunction with Montclair State University, was introduced in 2018. Female SMEs are invited onto campus to participate in a workshop where students address their problems and propose solutions, mini Hackathon-style.

A Q&A with a panel of small business owners helps students with start-up aspirations by relating their own experiences in overcoming issues.

The SMEs are offered workshops for their learning, delivered by Kingston Business School, and there is networking for all attendees. A great initiative that benefits all parties.

Case studies and press releases

Kingston University Women in Enterprise Network celebrates International Women's Day

Kingston University Women in Enterprise Network (KUWEN) celebrated its one-year anniversary with a virtual webinar that marked International Women's Day and focused on the theme, Breaking the Bias.

Read more about the KUWEN anniversary celebration.

Kingston University hosts Human Face of Venture Capital event

Kingston University welcomed a panel of investors into the RIBA award-winning Town House for the Human Face of Venture Capital event.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners from across south London were invited to hear about the human side of what can often be considered intimidating investors. The four investors included Kingston alumnus Matthew Cushen, founding partner of Worth Capital, and the event was hosted by Ian Roberts, head of Kingston Business School.

Read more about the Human Face of Venture Capital event.

HSBC Student Incubator Programme

HSBC UK is working in collaboration with five universities across the UK, including Kingston, to pilot a competitive enterprise programme. The programme will target aspiring entrepreneurs from under-represented and low-income backgrounds, helping them bring their business ideas to reality.

The programme will support students of black and minority ethnic backgrounds to bring their commercial aspirations to life. Successful candidates will participate in a 12-week bespoke course run by Start Up Discovery School, culminating with a finals day to be held in HSBC UK's Birmingham Head Office.

The successful candidates will receive one-to-one HSBC UK mentoring from Commercial Banking Relationship Directors alongside guidance from the Start Up Discovery School. They will have access to HSBC UK customer webinars and some modest financial support to enable them to bring their commercial ambitions to fruition.

It's hoped that the pilot will provide a model for other banks and financial institutions to emulate in collaboration with universities. The programme shows a way to nurture talent, encourage innovation, and offer support to aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds across the UK.

Ian Roberts, Head of Kingston Business School said: "Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of Kingston University. We are delighted to be able to offer these opportunities to our entrepreneurial students through the support of HSBC and the Start-Up Discovery School."

Did you know...

Kingston University has

The University is also an active participant in Creative Spark, the British Council's Higher Education Enterprise Programme initiative, which supports international partnerships.

We are unique in the UK as the only University to be involved in two Creative Spark projects, both being based in Ukraine.

Need more information?

Please contact us if you would like to find out more about the enterprising support we offer Kingston University students and local SMEs. You can also explore our services for business web pages for more details.