POST-PANDEMIC sustainability and success will be the focus of a ground-breaking new industry qualification which is 90% funded by the UK Government.
The Help to Grow: Management programme delivered by Bangor University Business School is aimed at directors and chief executives of SMEs nationwide and will be presented online and in person by some of the top names in leadership and academia.
The course begins on March 21 and is valued at £7,110, but thanks to government support will cost participants just £750.
Dr Lynn Oxborrow, Associate Professor in Management at Nottingham Business School and Programme Director of Help to Grow, hopes Welsh companies will sign up for interactive sessions that will have a long-term positive impact on their futures, and the environment.
A researcher and teacher of sustainable fashion and supply chain management, she added:
“Addressing the climate crisis is essential and everyone needs to do their bit. SMEs can play a big role here, as introducing sustainable innovations and practices not only helps to reduce carbon emissions, but it can also have a positive impact on business competitiveness.
“This could include everything from cost savings and improved efficiency to winning new business, carving out a niche, and retaining employees – the benefits have a real impact on productivity and innovation for forward thinking SMEs.”
Among those to have already signed up is Jen Jesse, Director of Operations and Administration at Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay.
“When I heard about the course, I thought it provided a great opportunity to assist in the development of the Zoo’s strategic plan,” said Jen, who holds a degree in Business Studies and Marketing from Bangor University.
“The pandemic hit us hard and now in our recovery stages we are keen to build upon the Zoo’s offering to make it a success for many years to come.
“I’m really looking forward to starting the course as I believe it will provide me with the necessary skills to continue to help drive and steer the Zoo forward.”
The programme includes 50 hours of in-depth virtual and face-to-face training, one-to-one mentoring, and guidance on how to grow a business while trying to become a ‘net zero’ enterprise.
Themes include financial management, strategies for growth and innovation, digital adoption, and responsible business practices. On completion all graduates will receive a bespoke Growth Plan.
Nicola Sturrs, Marketing and Administration Manager for the Help to Grow: Management programme and Business Development Manager for ION Leadership programmes at Bangor University Business School, says there has already been widespread interest from multiple sectors.
“There is an appetite out there for financial growth in tandem with sustainability and a ‘greener’ approach to business,” she said.
“The pandemic has given many leaders, managers, and executives an opportunity to reflect on their long-term models and address issues they may not have had the time to address because of day-to-day demands.
“Help to Grow is the perfect platform to gain inspiration, from those delivering the programme and other companies taking part, so we look forward to getting started.”
Anne Kiem OBE, Executive Director, Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, added: “Business schools support many thousands of small and medium sized businesses to address pressing issues they face, including growing their businesses in sustainable ways.
“All the business schools delivering this course have been accredited by the Small Business Charter – an assessment led by small business leaders themselves.”