A recap on the government backed programme delivered by Leeds Beckett University as it enters its third year of delivery.
At Leeds Beckett, we have been running the £220 million, government-backed, Help to Grow: Management programme for nearly two years now. In total it aims to provide over 30,000 SME leaders in the UK with the skills they need to improve business performance and resilience to future crises – helping them bounce back and achieve long-term growth.
George Lancaster, SME Programme Manager, reflects on the programme to date, at all of the successes we have seen and things we have learnt as we move into our third year.
We have supported over 100 businesses through the programme across five cohorts. We have attracted a really diverse group of businesses – from smaller micro enterprises with less than 10 employees, to larger SMEs of over 50 employees.
What has united all of the businesses on the programme so far has been a desire to grow, to improve resilience and to enable change through improved leadership and management practices. Many of the businesses joined the course with common aspirations and faced the same key challenges.
The greatest obstacles to growth, we learnt, were successful recruitment, management capability, and digital adoption. These directly line up with three of the modules on the programme. One of the benefits of the programme is that we get businesses working together in these sessions applying the theory to their specific circumstances – and, through their feedback, businesses have let us know that their peer groups were where they made the most vital learnings – from each other.
At one of our recent Help to Grow alumni events, Peter Dixon, Director at Dudleys Consulting Engineers, shared a fantastic example of the programme’s impact on their company. The programme prompted Peter to carry out a review of the company, which has resulted in the decision to open a second office and bring in dedicated office and account managers as key enablers of growth.
Oliver Kauss, Director at Hodson & Kauss, revealed that a combination of the peer groups and mentoring available on the programme gave him the push needed to develop a new side to the business un-seen before the programme started.
Olga Munroe, Help to Grow Programme Director at Leeds Beckett University, explained: “The course consists of a blend of online webinars by our academic experts and bespoke support through one-on-one business mentorship, peer to peer discussions, and sessions exploring case studies from relatable SMEs – including some of the many Yorkshire-based businesses that are part of our Leeds Beckett network.
“We focus on practical problem-solving techniques and all businesses come away with an action plan to embed in their organisation from the word ‘go’.”
Following the programme, businesses become part of the Leeds Beckett alumni community – allowing them continued access to Leeds Beckett’s wide range of SME support programmes and network of regional businesses: including guest lectures with industry experts, networking events, part-funded Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (mKTPS), Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) courses, and student and graduate recruitment and placements.
Our next cohort starts on 22nd March, it is 90% funded by the government – so the total cost to a business is only £750. Get in touch with our team Help2grow@leedsbeckett.ac.uk to book your place or find out about our future dates in April and September.