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Centre for SME Development



Based in the heart of Lancashire, we’re committed to helping businesses and social enterprises. We value our civic responsibility and are devoted to improving the regional community by stimulating economical and societal change. Let us help you fulfil your strategic ambitions whilst nurturing and growing your business.

As a gateway to the University of Central Lancashire, the Centre enables you to access:

  • World-class expertise
  • Topical networking events
  • Bespoke training, leadership development and CPD
  • Innovation and growth through business support programmes
  • Tailor-made consultancy based on the latest research
  • Student and graduate talent bringing fresh ideas and the latest knowledge

Forthcoming Events

We hold a range of events for the business community, which are free to attend. These include...

  • UCLan Part-time and Postgraduate Advice Event
  • Business Breakfast – Centre for SME Development
  • UCLan Business Twilight Event
  • UCLan Business Breakfast

For further details and to book your place visit our business events page.

 

Sue Smith (Image)

Sue Smith

Sue has an extensive track record of university business engagement. Sue began her career in the private sector in the area of marketing and research consultancy.

Sue has an extensive track record of university business engagement. Sue began her career in the private sector in the area of marketing and research consultancy.

Alison Hitchen (Image)

Alison Hitchen

Alison joined UCLan in 2003 after a 10 year career within the TV Advertising/Local TV department at Virgin Media. 

Alison joined UCLan in 2003 after a 10 year career within the TV Advertising/Local TV department at Virgin Media. 

Dr. PingPing Meckel (Image)

Dr. PingPing Meckel

PingPing has extensive experience in enterprise research and education. Her research interests include entrepreneurial learning, business start-ups, the entrepreneurial process, enterprise leadership learning and business incubation. 

PingPing has extensive experience in enterprise research and education. Her research interests include entrepreneurial learning, business start-ups, the entrepreneurial process, enterprise leadership learning and business incubation. 

Sue Smith

 

Director of the Centre for SME Development

Sue has an extensive track record of university business engagement. Sue began her career in the private sector in the area of marketing and research consultancy. This led to a hybrid role at Lancaster university whereby people with a business and commercial background acted as bridge between the university and businesses. Passionate about leadership in businesses, Sue ran many leadership development programmes and trained other institutions across the United Kingdom on how to develop leadership capabilities in small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). Along the way Sue embraced the academic world and completed a part time PhD in Management looking at how owner-managers of SMEs learnt leadership. Sue is a contributing author to LEADing Small Business - Business Growth through Leadership Development, a published study into business growth through development.

Sue is passionate about how people learn to lead and manage and the real impact this can have on a business. Underpinning university-business engagement with robust academic pedagogical approaches, Sue has enacted this philosophy in all her roles in Academia. In 2012, Sue took a role at Teesside University as Assistant Dean for Business engagement and joined UCLan in 2015 taking up her current role as Director for the Centre for SME Development.

The Centre for SME Development is a focal point for business engagement, business research and business education. The centres objective are:

  • To stimulate opportunities for applied research into SME specific issues;
  • To increase SME engagement with UCLan;
  • To create student opportunities for enterprise activities and employability;
  • To create economic and business impact though the activities of the Centre, for both UCLan and the SME community.
Sue's academic research focuses on two areas. The first is using social theories of learning to look at the impact of SME peer learning. The second is the relationship between universities, business and government and the impact this can have on the regional economy. She is on the editorial board for the Journal, Action Learning, Research and Practice; the Journal of Workbased Learning, Journal of Higher Education Skills and the Journal of Work Applied Management

Contact
01772 895500

Alison Hitchen

 

Business Development Manager

Alison joined UCLan in 2003 after a 10 year career within the TV Advertising/Local TV department at Virgin Media. Since joining UCLan Alison has remained focused on business engagement, developing strong links with the private sector and supporting the regions customer management agenda as Manager of CallNorthWest (the leading support network for customer management in the North West) until 2015 when she joined the Centre for SME Development.

Alison is passionate about all things customer experience and has a customer centric approach to everything she does. Adopting an outside-in approach, she walks the customer journey and believes that ‘what is best for the customer is what is best for the organisation’.

This passion has led her to project manage a series of European funded projects involving up-skilling customer service leaders, auditing the customer experience at every touch point and setting up Training Exchange Academies with European partners in Bulgaria, Germany and Lithuania.

Alison’s role within the Centre for SME Development is to engage the business community and; support their growth, develop their workforce and to provide access to our academic expertise and student community. Alison also has a Masters in Event Management which often comes in handy!

Contact

01772 895500

 

Dr PingPing Meckel

 

PhD, MRes, MBA, BA(Hons), FHEA

Research Associate

PingPing has extensive experience in enterprise research and education. Her research interests include entrepreneurial learning, business start-ups, the entrepreneurial process, enterprise leadership learning and business incubation.
Passionate about higher education institutions’ role in developing and sustaining entrepreneurship, PingPing’s PhD looked into how university students, graduates and entrepreneurs set up and sustained their enterprises in a university business incubation environment.

Prior to joining the Centre for SME Development at the University of Centre Lancashire, PingPing was a Senior Lecturer in Enterprise and Small Business Management at Liverpool John Moores University, where she was responsible for designing, developing and delivering enterprise modules.

PingPing has been active within the academic and entrepreneurial community in the UK and internationally. Before a career break looking after her son, she took up various roles, including Secretary for the Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group at the British Academy of Management, peer reviewer for a number of book publishers, journals and conferences.

PingPing is a firm believer in improving entrepreneurial culture and enhancing employability through stimulating synergy between research, enterprise education and business engagement. While conducting and publishing relevant world class research in entrepreneurship, she also helps the centre to enhance the student learning experience and employability by linking regional businesses with students. PingPing also believes in the values of fostering a community of practice and is building a vibrant research, learning and business community of entrepreneurship.

Contact

01772 895500