The 'Larger Small Business of the Year' award

Business schools in Yorkshire and Humber have collectively sponsored a regional Federation of Small Businesses Award (FSB) to promote the Help to Grow: Management Course.

The Yorkshire and Humber FSB ceremony took place at The Queen’s Hotel in Leeds ahead of a national celebration in May. The event attracted over 200 attendees and saw the presentation of 12 awards celebrating a diverse range of businesses from across Yorkshire and Humber.

The sponsored award, the ‘Larger Small Business of the Year’, was chosen because it was only open to businesses employing between 10-100 employees, ensuring each finalist would fall within the course's eligibility criteria.

Finalists included All Seasons Energy, a solar and renewable energy company in Sheffield; Lucy Pittaway, an artist based in Richmond; Liquid Voice, a customer communications analysis company in Leeds; My Pension Expert, a retirement specialist in Doncaster; and York Podiatry Ltd based in York.

Despite tough competition, the award was presented to innergy Group Ltd, a bottled gas specialist in Leeds, who recently expanded its branches across the region. What was most impressive was their significant commitment to supporting staff through a package of staff benefits, clear career pathways, and an added level of support in response to the cost-of-living crisis.

All finalists have been given a fully funded Help to Grow: Management Course place at one of the six business schools that collectively sponsored the award. They include Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, The University of Bradford, The University of Hull, and The University of Huddersfield.

The purpose behind the award

The collaboration shows a significant commitment to raising the profile of the 90% government-funded Help to Grow: Management Course across the Yorkshire & Humber region.  The partnership arose while Dr Alexandra Anderson, Programme Director for Help to Grow: Management at Sheffield Business School, explored opportunities to support SMEs with Paula Gouldthorpe, Development Manager South and East Yorkshire and the Humber for the Federation of Small Businesses.

Dr Alexandra Anderson said, ‘We’re a close and supportive network of business schools in Yorkshire and Humber supporting SMEs on Help to Grow: Management; this seemed like an ideal opportunity to collaborate with the FSB, and our fellow Small Business Charter accredited business schools to celebrate the successes of SMEs in our region.’

Professor David Spicer from the University of Bradford commented: ‘The fact that we have six universities working together to publicise the programme shows the strength of support for SMEs in the region’s universities.

With all six schools working under the Small Business Charter to promote the programme and support SMEs, it should have sent a clear message to businesses that we are here to help.’

Collaborating to celebrate SMEs

Not only is the collaboration an excellent opportunity to promote the course, but it was also a great opportunity for the business schools to work together and celebrate with local SMEs.

Shwetali Jagdhane, Help to Grow: Management Project Officer from Leeds Beckett University, noted: ‘Sponsoring one of the FSB awards was a testimony to how collaboration indeed helps SMEs and business schools to grow.

‘We not only met Help to Grow: Management teams from different universities but witnessed the incredible journeys of so many SMEs in the Yorkshire region.’

Susanne Marchant, Head of Programmes – SME Hub at Leeds University Business School, added: ‘Leeds University Business School was delighted to collaborate with our regional counterparts across Yorkshire in sponsoring the FSB Award for Largest Small Business. Attending the event gave us the opportunity to celebrate some wonderful companies and connect with amazing business leaders from across the region.

The opportunity to promote the Help to Grow Management Programme to the FSB members has been fantastic.’

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Author: Phil Corker, Project Manager (Help to Grow: Management)

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