ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Small Business and Social Enterprise Start-up

IntroductionEntry CriteriaQualification Content

The ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Small Business and Social Enterprise Start-up is a 60-credit Ofqual regulated qualification and is the equivalent level to an A Level or Access to HE qualification. It has been designed for learners who wish to progress to a business or management degree and may not have the traditional entry qualifications usually required.

The qualification aims to provide learners with the underpinning knowledge and understanding of a range of topics within the Small Business and Social Enterprise Start-up environment. These topics will allow learners to develop practical and theoretical approaches to solving problems and finding solutions using Small Business and Social Enterprise Start-up.

This qualification sits within a suite of ATHE L3 qualifications, which is called the International Access Programme (IAP). Each qualification has a credit value of 60. Learners may choose to study one or more of the qualifications in this suite.

Graded with Pass, Merit and Distinction.
Advanced learner loans available in the UK – to check if funding is available see the latest Qualification Catalogue here.
For the progression routes visit our progression routes page.

Delivery Mode
This qualification can be delivered either in the classroom, via distance learning or blended.

Qualification Specification
To view the specification, please click here.

This qualification is eligible for UCAS points. To find out how much points your qualification is worth, please visit the UCAS Tariff Calculator here.

Typical Age

This qualification is designed for learners who are typically aged 16 and above.


For learners who have recently been in education or training the entry profile is likely to include one of the following:

  • 5 or more GCSEs at grades C and above or Grade 4 and above
  • other related level 2 subjects
  • other equivalent international qualifications


For those whom English is not their first language we recommend the following standards of proficiency in English language skills or an approved equivalent for this qualification:

  • IELTs 5.5
  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) B2
  • Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) 162 or above
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic 42-49

Learners must complete all 6 mandatory units.

Unit NameUnit AimsCreditsMandatory
Market ResearchThis unit aims to enable learners to identify possible opportunities for a small start-up enterprise by conducting market research and analysing the findings.10Yes
Business and Financial PlanningThis unit aims to enable learners to produce a business plan for their start-up enterprise. Learners will also acquire knowledge and understanding of stock procurement, resource management and financial techniques to support business planning.10Yes
Quality AssuranceThis unit aims to develop the learner’s knowledge and understanding of quality standards, their importance and how they are assured in a new enterprise start-up.5Yes
Presenting a Business PlanThis unit aims to give learners opportunities to develop communication, IT and presentation skills. Learners will acquire knowledge and understanding of how to structure a presentation specifically for an enterprise start-up, and deliver the presentation to an appropriate audience.5Yes
Running and Monitoring a Small Enterprise Start-upThis unit aims to enable learners to run and monitor the performance of their small enterprise start-up against the plan produced in Unit 2.20Yes
Reviewing Performance of an Enterprise Start-upThis unit aims to evaluate the success of the enterprise start-up, including the learner’s contribution, analysing performance against targets and establishing changes to improve future success.10Yes