Help to Grow: Management Alumni regional event - Leeds

9:00am - 2:30pm, 18th January 2023 | Royal Armouries, Leeds LS10 1LT

Welcome to our free-to-attend, regional half-day conference for Help to Grow: Management alumni and course participants of Yorkshire and Humber.

As the economic headwinds get stronger, the need for SMEs to remain agile and resilient is now more important than ever. By joining us for this Alumni Network 2023 conference, you will build on the knowledge already gained from the Help to Grow: Management Course.

Specifically designed for alumni and course participants in the Yorkshire and Humber region, this conference features:

  • A masterclass from international speaker and psychologist, Adrian Furnham on the science of motivation and leadership.
  • Practical information on digital transformation.
  • Guidance on regional government support for SMEs.
  • Networking opportunities with Help to Grow: Management Alumni, course participants, and business experts, from across your region.

Showcase your business

If you would like your business to be considered for a marketplace stand at this event, free of charge, please email to find out more.


More information to follow.

By Professor Jill Johnes, Dean of Huddersfield Business School

In this interactive workshop session, Professor Adrian Furnham will outline ways to become a better and more resilient leader and how you can effectively engage with your team. Through exploring the psychology of management, teamwork, and motivation, the workshop will shed light on how SME leaders can improve satisfaction and productivity.

Delivered by: Professor Adrian Furnham, consultant on organisational behaviour, writer and academic.

Grab a refreshment and meet your local fellow business leaders.

No matter the industry you work in, effectively leveraging the power of digital technologies has the potential to transform your business. Yorkshire and Humber in particular, have made significant efforts to increase the rate of digital adoption to improve productivity and competitiveness. In this session, our panel will outline some general principles that SMEs can apply to successfully digitise their operations to minimise costs and maximise growth.

Delivered by:

Dr. Alan Shaw, Chair of the Retail Institute Special Institute Research Group, Leeds Beckett University

Professor Sankar Sivarajah, Dean of School of Management, Bradford

Jon Brunton, Growth Hub Manager, Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership

John Palfreyman, Chair of the Panel, Lecturer at Leeds University School, Founder, Author

For SMEs, a certain amount of trial and error is inevitable when trying new things, but too much can waste time and resources. Getting the right information and advice early on is vital in order to grow your business in the right way. In this session, our panel will outline the expert (and often free) support available to SME leaders in Yorkshire and Humber. The speakers will discuss national and regional initiatives that SME leaders can take advantage of and provide a clear picture of what guidance is available, and how to access it.

Chaired by Mark Roberts, serial entrepreneur and Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, panelists include:

  • Cat Smith, Senior Network Manager, British Business Bank
  • Alexandra Anderson, Principal Lecturer Employer Engagement, Programme Director Help to Grow - Management. Sheffield Business School
  • Michelle Cooper – International Trade Adviser, The Department for International Trade, Yorkshire and the Humber

More information to follow.

Your chance to network with fellow business leaders to share experiences and strengthen your long-term connections.

By now we hope you have had a productive and insightful day.

Keep an eye on your emails as we hope to see you again soon.

Professor Adrian Furnham

D.Phil (Oxon) D.Sc (Lond) D.Litt (Natal) FBPsS FAcSS

Adrian is an academic, consultant on organisational behaviour, writer, and a broadcaster. He is particularly specialised in communicating complex psychological and business concepts to a variety of clients. Adrian has worked with over 30 multinational companies including public sector (army, police, government) and private sector (banks, airlines, consortia) in the UK and abroad.

Jill J

Professor Jill Johnes

Jill Johnes is Dean of Huddersfield Business School and Professor of Production Economics. A daughter of an owner of a small business, and a former employee of British Aerospace, she has maintained an interest in business engagement throughout her 35-year academic career. As Dean of Huddersfield Business School, she has driven the business engagement agenda with enhancement of organisations as a prime focus of the School’s mission and vision. Under her leadership, in 2022, the School was awarded the Small Business Charter and immediately engaged with delivery of the Help to Grow Management programme which has led to further exciting collaborations with SMEs.

Dr Alan Shaw

Dr Alan Shaw is the Retail Institute Special Interest Research Group Chair. He is also a senior lecturer in Digital Marketing, founder of Strategic Planet, member of the Social Media Research Foundation, and acting Chair for X-PERT Health (a diabetes education charity). Alan’s main research interests are social marketing, social media marketing, social network analysis, and social listening.

Cat Smith

Representing the British Business Bank across Yorkshire and Humber, Cat works closely with funding delivery partners, business development agencies and other organisations across the small business finance ecosystem to improve access to financial support.

Professor Sankar Sivarajah

Sankar Sivarajah is a Professor of Technology Management and Circular Economy and the Dean of School of Management at University of Bradford. His research and teaching is interdisciplinary in nature focusing on the use of emerging digital technology for the betterment of society, be it in a business or government context.

Jon Brunton

Jon Brunton is the Growth Hub Manager for the Hull & East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (HEY LEP).  He is the lead at HEY LEP for the new Made Smarter Yorkshire & Humber Programme which offers expert technical support, advice, and funding to enable manufacturing SMEs to explore and implement digital technology and advanced manufacturing techniques throughout their operations.

Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts

Mark is a serial entrepreneur, non-exec Director and angel investor. He combines board-level B2C marketing experience with e-commerce and digital innovation to help businesses rapidly scale. He set up Beer Hawk in 2012, scaling up to a profitable business with over £100m revenue and successfully exiting to a strategic buyer.  

John Palfreyman

John founded Palfreyman Ventures in July 2017. This platform offers practical advice for the application of technologies for sustained business advantage. Previously, John has worked as a Supervisor and Lecturer in “Strategy and Digital Transformation” at Leeds University Business School and Salford University. He is the author of ‘Business Blockchain’; ‘Digital Transformation Handbook’ and ’Non-executive Director Playbook’.

Dr Alexandra Anderson

Dr Alexandra Anderson (SFHEA) is Principal Lecturer in the Department of Management at Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University. International entrepreneurship is her main area of research, and she has undertaken commissioned research projects on supporting SMEs to internationalise. Her teaching interests include enterprise education, international entrepreneurship, global supply chain management and consultancy skills.

Michelle Cooper

Michelle Cooper

Michelle works with local business, from start-ups through to well established business, assisting them in the development and implementation of their international strategy. She supports business owners, management and sales teams to curate a tailored strategy to achieve their business ambitions. Michelle’s particular focus is on the digital, tech & gaming sector - e.g. those in smart cities, IoT, AI, cyber security, EdTech, HealthTech, ManufacturingTech, RetailTech, clean tech, communications, data management/analytics, VR, AR & more.

Capacity is limited so please register your place as soon as possible.


If you have any questions, please get in touch by email at or contact the Small Business Charter by phone on 020 7634 9584.