Aston University: Aston University programme aimed at helping diverse businesses hailed a success

An Aston University programme aimed at helping diverse businesses has been hailed a success by the companies taking part.

The Diverse Supply Chains programme supports local diverse1 businesses to enter the supply chains of major organisations through a specialised workshop programme and facilitates relationships between the businesses and large private and public sector corporate contractors. It also provides grants worth up to £2500 (match funding).

The programme is being delivered in collaboration with Balfour Beatty Vinci, High Speed 2, Birmingham City Council, NatWest, The OM Group and Bournville Village Trust.

To date, 98 businesses have been supported via two workshop programmes, out of which 19 have received grants of £2500.

Furthermore, the programme has announced that three businesses have won a total of six bids since completing the programme.

Professor Nick Theodorakopoulos, Programme Director, said:

“I am delighted to see that the support we’ve been delivering to local diverse businesses has been really well received. Particularly the opportunity given to the SMEs to attend an innovative workshop programme with key industry partners; with participating businesses also having access to some funding in order to support their business tendering/supply chain activities.”

Kavita Jeerh, ERDF Programme Manager at Aston Business School, said:

“I am really pleased with how the programme has progressed so far. Considering we were due to launch the programme in April 2020, due to lockdown we were forced to re-assess the programme delivery and make key components of it accessible online.

“This was challenging, but I am pleased to see that the two workshop programmes we have already delivered have met with remarkable success.

“We are now half-way through delivering the final cohort.”

Kamaljit Suman, co-founder of Art of the Heart CIC, commented:

“If we hadn’t have done the Diverse Supply Chains course we would’ve gone down as a business – there’s not much doubt in my mind that that’s the case.

“Since then, we have won our first contract with Birmingham City Council.”

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