E:diversesupplychains@aston.ac.uk T: +44(0)121 204 4321


At Aston University, we have collaborated with large contractors and firms to deliver a package of support tailored to your business needs. This hands-on approach will prove beneficial for applying to potential tender opportunities.

Key Benefits: 

  • Free online workshops* worth up to £2500
  • Certificate from an outstanding Entrepreneurial University as awarded by Times Higher Education
  • Support from indusrty experts
  • Access to a grant of £2500

The workshop series consists of a series of activities including:

  • Themed workshops
  • Introduction to procurement
  • Achieving Health, Safety, Environmental and CDM Compliance 
  • Effective product/service positioning and marketing
  • Raising aspirations and confidence
  • Promoting leadership skills & confidence
  • One-to-one coaching through surgery events

Our series of masterclass workshops provide bespoke business support by highly trained specialists in the business ecosystem enabling diverse SMEs to acquire new skills, resources and knowledge.

These workshops are designed to equip you with the most advanced techniques to take your business to the next level, these workshops will help you increase your tendering potential, boost your self-esteem and grant you access to mainstream business providers.

There will be three workshop programmes delivered over the course of the project (from 2020-2022), if you don’t get a place on the first workshop programme, there will be an opportunity for you to partake in future workshop programmes (dependent on whether your application form is approved).  

The support we plan to provide will comply with the State Aid rules using the de minimis exemption (in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013, OJ L 352/1). The maximum value of the aid under this initiative is approximately £2500.


Our workshops

The second workshop programme is now open for applications. The dates of the workshops can be viewed in the events calendar. 

These workshops will discuss key areas that suppliers will need to consider when bidding for work. Many of these considerations are common across different major corporations. they include, for example:
  • sustainability /environmental policies and practice
  • equality and diversity policy and practice
  • Health and safety
  • The need for specific skills of staff and qualification levels
  • Employment conditions of staff
  • Cyber security
  • Linking with local communities
Businesses need to know how to work within these systems. Examples of some of the topics to be included will be:
  • Use of Pre Qualifying Questionnaires (PQQs) and competitive tendering
  • Becoming an approved supplier and use of frameworks
  • European procurement regulations
  • Where and how to find tender opportunities
  • Use of e-tendering
  • What does a good tender look like? (Plain English, answers the question, demonstrates understanding of the context and requirement, shows previous experience looks and reads as a professional document etc)
  • Use of professional bid writers
This workshop will cover the requirements for attaining Health, Safety, Environmental and CDM Compliance for your business. In addition, businesses will be given guidance and tips on how to attain SSIP accreditation, the pitfalls to avoid when completing accreditation assessments and how to make the most use of the accreditation memberships once obtained.
These workshops will assist business leaders to gain confidence in their ability to scale up their businesses and compete for tenders from major corporations. Key activities in these workshops will include:
  • Use of a motivational speaker – a business leader who has successfully won contracts from a major private or public corporation
  • Discussions considering the perceptions and psychological barriers that prevent business leaders from seeking to win business from major corporations
  • Interactive games and exercise to challenge common perceptions and negative beliefs
These sessions will be delivered at surgery workshop events. Aston University academics who already have experience of working with minority owned businesses will provide one-to-one support that will last for up to one hour.

These workshops will help businesses to consider how they can develop and market their brand effectively. Key areas that will be considered include:

  • Developing your business brand
  • What does good marketing material look like?
  • Developing an online presence
  • How to find, engage and network effectively with representatives from major private sector and public corporations.