Management team in a meeting

SMEs are being urged to sign up to a new 12-week management course, providing critical skills and networks to help them innovate, grow and thrive beyond COVID-19.

Help to Grow: Management is a practical training programme for senior leaders in small and medium-sized businesses. Rolled out nationally by the UK’s leading business schools, and in partnership with government and the Chartered Association of Business Schools (Chartered ABS), SMEs in North East England can access the programme via Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, with the first cohort starting on 21 September.

Delivered by a range of experts – including entrepreneurs, business leaders and respected academics with commercial expertise and small business know-how – Help to Grow combines practical learning with one-to-one support from a business mentor, alongside peer-to-peer sessions.

As part of a group of small business owners and leaders (20 to 25 per cohort), participants will build their own networks and connections – and following the programme, will benefit from ongoing access to an extensive alumni network and a range of future events.

With 90% of costs subsidised by government, as part of its commitment to support business recovery post-pandemic, employers will pay just £750 of the £7,500 programme.

John Wales, who is leading the Help to Grow programme at Newcastle Business School, said: “It’s vital that we continue to support SMEs in the region as they recover from the pandemic. We’re keen to spread the word and would encourage SME leaders in any sector to sign up for this invaluable new programme which will help them to tackle challenges, hone their leadership skills and really drive innovation and future growth.

“Help to Grow builds on the success of the recent Small Business Leadership programme and not only provides access to a wide range of small business expertise at a vastly reduced cost, but also offers personalised mentoring and enables SME leaders to further develop their own networks.

“Perhaps most importantly, a key outcome is the development of a tailored business growth plan to help each SME realise its potential or achieve its next stage of success.”

Help to Grow is specifically designed to fit alongside full-time work and learning modules include: strategy and innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business, and financial management, as well as the development of an actionable growth plan.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully added: “Seizing opportunity is what being a business leader is all about, and our Help to Grow: Management scheme gives entrepreneurs the chance to access the very best advice on how to innovate, reach new customers and boost profits.

“The practical training scheme is 90% funded by the government and designed around busy business owners’ schedules, so I would encourage entrepreneurs across the UK to get involved and maximise the potential of their business.”

Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University holds the Small Business Charter (SBC), an award which celebrates and recognises business schools that excel in supporting SMEs and the local economy. In order to achieve the Small Business Charter award, business schools undergo a rigorous assessment from Chartered ABS to determine the depth and effectiveness of their business engagement and business support.

Help to Grow: Management is keenly supported by Northumbria’s newly appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Law, Professor Robert MacIntosh, who is also Chair of the Chartered ABS.

Professor MacIntosh said: “Help to Grow offers significant opportunities for those leading smaller businesses. It is a highly practical programme designed to boost performance, resilience and prospects for growth – and with its track record of excellence in supporting SMEs, Newcastle Business School is ideally placed to deliver the programme in the North East.”

The first Help to Grow: Management cohort at Newcastle Business School will start on 21 September, with a further nine cohort dates planned.

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Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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