Lancaster University joins Government partnership to support businesses hit by Covid

Lancaster University Management School is working with the Small Business Charter (SBC) to deliver a specialised government funded programme for leaders of small businesses to survive and thrive in the coming months and post coronavirus.

The Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) comes as part of a £20m package the government are providing to help small businesses in the long-term.

The free programme will be delivered by the Centre for Executive Training and Development (CeTAD) in LUMS, who have established expertise in working with business leaders and managers via digital learning. It is open to businesses in Lancashire and Cumbria.

The course builds on LUMS’ extensive experience of delivering knowledge, expertise and training to the regions SMEs.

Professor Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, said: “We are delighted to participate in the delivery of the Small Business Leadership Programme. It will complement our existing significant work with SMEs through the wide range of programmes which we deliver for SMEs, including Productivity through People and Made Smarter.

“Our leading role in the development of these programmes, coupled with our extensive legacy over the last two decades of supporting SMEs, means that we will bring cutting-edge research and practice insight into the delivery of the programme, ensuring participants in the SBLP are supported to develop their businesses to compete with the best in their sectors globally.”

SBLP will be delivered online through eight 90-minute webinars over the course of 10 weeks. It will provide the knowledge needed for businesses to tackle crisis situations. It will also give businesses the opportunity to strengthen their business network. Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance

To aid business resilience and future growth in the current climate, SBLP will create peer groups to develop stronger leadership, innovation, operational efficiency, marketing and finance.

SBC, a national accreditation awarded by small businesses to business schools who excel in supporting SMEs and the local economy, accredited LUMS in 2014 and reaccredited the School in 2019.

Coronavirus has put untold pressure on directors and CEOs of small companies trying to navigate uncharted waters. According to a recent McKinsey online survey of UK SMEs, 80 per cent of small businesses reported their revenues were declining in June in 2020.

The Government has made up to £30 billion available to support economic recovery ahead of the Autumn and businesses can continue to draw upon a range of financial support during this challenging time, including loans, tax deferrals and cash grants. The SBLP will help businesses to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus and prepare for any future disruption.

The practical syllabus provides business leaders with access to small business and management experts from LUMS. The SBLP is free and fully funded by the Government to enhance small business resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 and develop potential for future growth and productivity.

Anne Kiem, OBE, CEO of Chartered Association of Business Schools and SBC Executive Director, said: “As we continue to grapple with the Coronavirus crisis it is also essential we look long term to ensure small businesses are supported to build resilience, survival and growth. Business schools can provide the expertise and knowledge all business owners and directors need to continue to thrive in uncertain times.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully, said: “The strength of small businesses up and down the country will be vital as we begin to bounce back from coronavirus and re-build our economy. The Small Business Leadership Programme will help to equip small business leaders with the leadership and problem-solving skills they need to grow their firms in the wake of this pandemic.”

The first LUMS SBLP course will start in October 2020, with further cohorts in December 2020 and January 2021. For more details and to register, visit: https://smallbusinesscharter.org/sblp

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