History

ABE is an examination and membership body. It is a company limited by guarantee and is therefore a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members. ABE’s core objective is to provide affordable, high-quality business qualifications worldwide.

ABE is recognised as an Awarding Body by the UK Government’s regulator, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), as well as equivalent bodies worldwide.

The Association, now based in New Malden, just outside London, was founded in 1973 by a group of senior academics, politicians and business people (support came from Macmillan publishing, the Ford Motor Company, 3M, MoD and Unilever) who were concerned about the lack of training in general management comparable to the training for their profession provided by other professional bodies. Very quickly, following the launch, there were requests from Greece, Cyprus, Ghana, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore to run the new ABE programmes. ABE has continued to operate internationally throughout its existence and around two thirds of its revenue comes from outside the UK.

The inaugural President was the Right Honourable Reg, later Lord, Prentice, for a period the Secretary of State for Education, who remained actively associated with ABE for a quarter of a century. Whilst holding Government Office he had to step down as ABE’s President and was replaced by Professor Gerry Fowler who was previously Minister of State, Department of Education and Science before becoming Director, North East London Polytechnic. Many other highly respected individuals have given their time and experience over the years. The current President is Dr Edward de Bono, a leading authority on lateral thinking.

More than 50,000 students now study ABE qualifications worldwide every year.