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BEIS launches new SME leadership schemes

6 August: A brace of schemes aimed at helping SMEs in England improve their leadership skills while learning with and from their peers have been launched by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

 The £20m programmes, which are designed to be complementary, aim to “enhance resilience and recovery” from the devastating impact of COVID-19, while also empowering businesses to develop their potential for future growth and productivity. 

Small Business Leadership Programme 

The 10-week Small Business Leadership Programme, which will initially be delivered online, will be provided by a consortium of leading university business schools.

Participants will “develop strategic leadership skills, and the confidence to make informed decisions that boost business performance through a curriculum that will explore leadership, innovation, employee engagement, operational efficiency, marketing, sustainable practices, and finance. 

To be eligible to take part, businesses must be based in England, have been operating for at least one year and be an SME with five to 249 employees.

Peer Networks 

The second offering, Peer Networks, aims to “bring together diverse cohorts of business leaders” to provide a nurturing environment in which to discuss business challenges with their commercial peers.

It will be delivered through a series of group sessions, via local Growth Hubs across England, allowing participants to “gain and reflect on valuable peer feedback” as well as identifying practical solutions to a range of challenges. 

The course will offer guidance on finance, HR and sales and marketing through a “trusted support network”, helping participants “build and strengthen” their businesses while improving performance.

Eligibility for the scheme is the same as for the Small Business Leadership Programme with the additional criteria that SMEs must have a turnover of over £100,000. 

To find out more and register an interest in the Small Business Leadership Programme, click here or for Peer Networks, click here.