31st May 2023

Almost 300 business leaders across the West Midlands have now completed the Help to Grow: Management Course in a bid to strengthen resilience and innovation, according to new figures from the Department for Business and Trade. 

The 12-week Help to Grow: Management Course was founded in April 2021 to help business leaders and senior managers to increase resilience, innovation, and growth within their organisations. 

By February 2023, 280 SME leaders in the West Midlands had finished the course across three business schools at Aston University, Birmingham City University and Coventry University. Throughout the UK, 3,340 people had completed the course across 52 UK business schools.

Help to Grow: Management findings

Research, published in May and undertaken by Ipsos, highlights the impact Help to Grow: Management has had on UK businesses. Seven in 10 (69%) report greater confidence in leading and managing their business while two thirds (66%) felt their leadership and management skills had improved.

SME leaders across a variety of sectors have benefitted from taking part in the training including those in manufacturing, construction, professional services, scientific, and technical industries, and information and communication. Help to Grow: Management comprises four waves of three modules, 1-2-1 business mentoring, peer-learning and access to the Alumni Network.  

Encouragingly, six in 10 (61%) UK business leaders now have a better understanding of how to innovate their business model and are more aware of factors that drive business productivity and growth. Over nine in 10 (92%) say they have shared what they learned or gained with others in their business after completing the programme. 

The advice given to help business leaders embrace working in a post-Covid era also resulted in almost four in five (78%) reporting improved employee engagement.  

Help to Grow: Management has supported leaders from often under-represented demographics. Nearly a fifth (17%) of participants identified as being from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared to 6% of all UK SME owners, whilst a third (34%) were women, compared to 24% of UK SME owners. A broad range of ages were also welcomed to the course with one in five aged between 50-65 and a quarter aged between 25-34.  

Report findings also showed that 91% of participants would recommend Help to Grow: Management to other business leaders.

Comments on the course

Manny Rai, founder of Cheylesmore Chartered Accountants, signed up for the course at Coventry Business School. He said: “The Help to Grow: Management Course really helped me with my leadership. It made me realise that I’m supposed to be the captain of the ship, directing which way it should go, and finding new and better ways of getting there. I used to try and do all the work myself, but that just doesn’t work.'

'You get lost and lose focus. I was also able to implement learnings from the employee engagement module which really helped to support my team through a period of really rapid growth. We could not have changed the company structure like we did if we hadn’t invested time in our people.'

Michael Hayman MBE, Chair, Small Business Charter, said: 'The success of the UK's SME sector is critical to the growth of the wider economy. The Help to Grow: Management Course is designed to directly benefit our vibrant SME sector, equipping today’s leaders and future leaders with the tools, knowledge and confidence to identify and lead change, innovation and growth. It’s also brilliant to see the course attracting a wider diversity of business leaders, something we want to continue embracing as the programme progresses.  

'We look forward to continuing to support business leaders across the West Midlands and the rest of the UK as they take the steps needed to introduce change that will help them for years to come.'

Delivered by Small Business Charter-accredited business schools, the course is available in more than 50 locations across the UK with 90% of the fee participants pay covered by the government.  

The value of the programme continues long after participants have finished the course with the majority (86%) continuing to interact with other SME leaders outside of their firm through networking and informal discussions.  

Almost one in four (23%) also continue to be mentored by their Help to Grow: Management mentor while many are exploring further courses (67%), attending alumni events (59%) and gaining new accreditations (43%). 

To find out more about a Help to Grow: Management course near you, click here.