Business Support in Education

In the business and enterprise industry, business support is invaluable. Whether setting up a new business or learning the foundation skills required to plan a new business venture, many startups turn to business support to assist with launching some crucial conversations.

This need for business support is equally present in the educational sector, as Universities and Colleges guide the next wave of start-up entrepreneurs through their educational journey. The business support officer/advisor assists with piecing together aspects of their business plan, promoting independent work and discovery and assisting the learner to develop their own ideas of what their business is and how it operates.

Interview with Nikki Eastwood

We spoke with Nikki Eastwood from the Leeds Trinity Enterprise Centre. Nikki is the programme lead for business and enterprise, and also an advisor-mentor for undergraduates and graduates looking for business support and advice. We spoke with Nikki, as a member of a recent cohort of learners who undertook one of SFEDI’s business support qualifications. We asked Nikki how the role translates to the University setting, how it has assisted with her career and the opportunities that have come about since undertaking the accredited qualification.

Nikki transitioned into a business support role, and enjoys the freedom the students have in pursuing their own business ventures. Allowing them to be creative, expressive and still focused on the logistics and practicalities of a new business is something that Nikki seems particularly interested in.

Within an educational setting, the students and the business support advisor are able to experiment and explore the world of enterprise in a more liberal way. The responsibility and consequences may be less severe whilst the benefits and opportunities are just as real. The business support advisor, within a University context, is able to guide the learner on their journey, whilst the business owner/learner is able to learn how to articulate their goals and implement measures in order to achieve these goals.

Working with a range of businesses, within an educational setting, the business support accreditation allows the advisor to learn about transferable skills, core skills for business support as well as how to deliver a personalised approach to business support. With each University student presenting a new idea, and each University student needing their own unique support, the SFEDI business support qualification provides a seal of approval from the UK sector skills body and equips you with the tools and knowledge to deliver excellent business support to each student.

Whilst undertaking the SFEDI business support qualification, Nikki found that her confidence had grown. Being able to advise the business owners in a confident and supportive way, Nikki found a clear difference from before the qualification to after she had gained the qualification.

It was really interesting to talk with Nikki about the role of business support within an educational setting and to find out more about how you apply business support to new and emerging business ideas and concepts within a University.

And this is why business support accreditation is so important within an educational setting. Being able to guide a new business owner through those difficult decisions, as well as through some brilliant opportunities, is one of the most important aspects of business support. The business support accreditation equips you with the knowledge and techniques needed to guide new business owners through their start-up phase.

Within an educational setting, there is the natural underlying academic approach to the new businesses. The accredited business advisor, Nikki in this case, can use this academic journey the learner is on, and apply real-life scenarios to test their knowledge and also secure their future within the business. The SFEDI Level 5 and Level 7 Business support Qualifications allow the business support advisor to identify these areas and provide their clients with opportunities to develop their own businesses.

Why does accreditation matter, when it comes to business support?

The role of accreditation, especially within the role of business support or an advisory role, is vital. It notifies your current employer, future employers and your clients that you have undertaken relevant training within the field. The SFEDI accreditation allows you to take that claim one step further, in that you have studied a business support qualification with the UK sector skills body, that is underpinned by the National Occupational Standards for Business Support. This qualification will equip you with all of the skills and knowledge needed to deliver business support, whilst providing you with many opportunities for research, self-reflection and skills discovery.

The SFEDI-accredited qualification provides business support professionals with a suite of resources, skills, techniques, reflective exercises and of course, the final qualification to progress your business support career.

If you are interested in gaining a Level 5 or Level 7 business support qualification from the UK sector skills body, do reach out today. Head to: and contact a member of their team.