Open4Business - How the University Can Help Business Build Back Better!

Charlotte Patrick
Charlotte Patrick

What a year! We truly do live in unprecedented times. As the country slowly gets back into gear and some sort of normality – or a new normality – the University is keen to help and is truly Open4Business!Over the past few months the University’s Business Support Team - led by Charlotte Patrick - has initiated a wide range of online webinars, workshops and networking events to help local businesses and communities survive and thrive, bringing together academic knowledge with our business expertise to provide advice and support in a collaborative and responsive environment - with topics ranging from health & safety to start-up funding sources to cyber security.

Two of the more popular topics which we report on here were

- Doing Business With China

- Covid-19: Build Back Better

All the sessions from both series of webinars were recorded and are available from, along with information about all the events and activities of the University’s Business Support Team and how it can help and support your organisation.

Dr Shaowei He
Dr Shaowei He

Doing Business with China

With growing tensions between China and the UK as well as the US, the University’s CEEC (China & Emerging Economies Centre) - led by Director Professor Shaowei He - put on this three-part series. The first webinar had long-standing China expert, Stephen Perry of The 48 Club, talking about geo-politics, China’s position in the world and its strategic goals. 

This was followed by Tom Van der Heyden of the S3 Group, a strategic sourcing company, talking about their 17 years of experience sourcing from and exporting to China. With offices in Barcelona, Hong Kong and Shanghai, the company have recently opened a UK office based in London, and will be working to support CEEC in helping businesses with their sourcing and internationalisation strategies. For more information see or contact

The final session had a range of China experts talking about China: Context, Culture & Commerce, with a panel made up of Ting Zhang from; Jim James of EastWest PR; Dr. Mark Wareing, ex UK government DIT lead in China on advanced manufacturing; and David Gregory of the well-established China-Britain Business Council. All agreed that the deterioration in Anglo-Chinese relations was disappointing, and difficult though it may be, that it is better to understand and engage with China rather than confront or reject it. China is now the third largest importer of UK goods, and the UK is the second largest recipient of Chinese investment in Europe. All agreed that the deterioration in Anglo-Chinese relations was disappointing, and difficult though it may be, that it is better to understand and engage with China rather than confront or reject it. China is now the 3rd largest importer of UK goods, and the UK is the 2nd largest recipient of Chinese investment in Europe.

For more information about CEEC contact the Director Dr Shaowei He via

Dr Amin  Hosseinian-Far
Dr Amin Hosseinian-Far

Covid-19: Build Back Better

These four webinars looked at the growing focus on corporate social responsibility and ESG – environmental, social and governance measurement and reporting – that will help businesses enhance their reputation and long-term value. A series of expert speakers including Martin Townsend, Global Head of Sustainability at BSI (British Standards Institute) alongside ‘best-in-class’ local case studies such as Bambino Mio, OCEE International and Ricoh UK gave the attendees much food for thought in how to engage more strategically with the community in which they operate – and enhance and grow their business as a result. It has earned Bambino Mio a Queen’s Award for Industry.

Centre for Sustainable Business Practices (CSBP)

The next few months will be testing times for many businesses. The University’s Faculty of Business & Law is ready to help local businesses with the challenges they face in a wide variety of areas – for instance, strategy, marketing, HR, operations and logistics, finance, law, internationalisation etc. With over 100 full-time faculty who have extensive practitioner as well as academic experience, local businesses and charities have a great resource to draw on. 

In particular, the Centre for Sustainable Business Practices (CSBP) has a group of cross-disciplinary staff actively working on applied research and business support activities. CSBP supports the University’s four strategic Changemaker Challenges designed to create real impact within the local community, one of which is to help make Northamptonshire the best county in the UK to start, build and run a business. 

If you would like to know how CSBP can help your organisation, contact Director Dr Amin Hosseinian-Far via 

Adrian Pryce DL
Adrian Pryce DL


The ‘Open4Business’ show on NLive Radio 106.9FM, which now airs weekly on Tuesdays from 7-9pm, features in-depth interviews with local civic, charity and business leaders. These are now available as podcasts via All Things Business’ very own Ben Thomas is a regular guest presenter, with a monthly round up of the County’s business scene on the last Tuesday of each month. The Open4Business host, Adrian Pryce, a Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and also the CSBP Corporate & Community Outreach lead, who is himself very active in the County’s commercial, charity and community life, is always keen to hear from organisations with good news to share and who would like to be profiled on the show, with a 20 minute pre-recorded interview.

To be on the show, or for more information about how NLive Radio can support and promote your organisation, please contact Open4Business presenter Adrian Pryce via or the NlIve Radio Station Manager Martin Steers at