New year, new opportunities for small businesses to bounce back

Small businesses from across the North West can gain vital leadership support as they continue to tackle the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and turn over a new leaf in 2021.

Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) is delivering the Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP), a free 10-week training programme for senior leaders in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) supported by the UK Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The SBLP is is a free, 10-week training programme for senior leaders in SMEs fully-funded by the UK Government, who have partnered with the Small Business Charter (SBC). Two new cohorts will start at Lancaster in January.

The programme will enhance small business resilience and recovery from the impact of Covid-19 and develop potential for future growth and productivity. The practical syllabus provides business leaders with access to small business and management experts at some of the UK’s leading business schools.

The SBLP covers a range of practical topics and is delivered online by small business experts – including entrepreneurs, business leaders and academics – from LUMS. It will aid business resilience and future growth in the current climate, through the creation of peer groups to develop stronger leadership, innovation, operational efficiency, marketing and finance.

Dr Danny Soetanto, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship & Strategy in LUMS and one of the academic experts helping to deliver the SBLP, said: “Right now, businesses need to be flexible, to network, to be innovative, and to try to explore and exploit new opportunities. Every crisis will create new opportunities. New type of companies or entrepreneurs will emerge and may dominate the industry – entrepreneurs who can identify an opportunity will benefit.

“Training and programmes like the SBLP bring new perspectives and ideas. We can learn from others who are in similar situations, and that's one of the simple strategies in innovation. Taking part in the programme will allow businesses to acquire new knowledge and build new contacts which will be important moving forward.”

The SBLP’s practical syllabus provides business leaders with access to small business and management experts. It is made up of eight, 90-minute webinars, alongside independent and peer-to-peer learning, all designed to support and fit in with day-to-day business delivery.

Participants must be in senior management roles in businesses which have been operating for at least one year and with 5-249 employees, with at least one person reporting directly to them.

Paulette Swindell, LUMS Programme Leader for the Small Business Leadership Programme, said: “Having been through two national lockdowns, and with many areas under Tier three restrictions afterwards which can have a great impact on business, it is more important than ever that we help companies who might be struggling.

“Our experts at Lancaster University Management School want to use their knowledge of marketing, consultancy and formal planning to help guide businesses across the region through the current climate, so that they can come out of this lockdown thriving.” 

The Small Business Leadership programme is part of a £20 million package the government is providing to help small businesses in the long term. It is being delivered across the country by a consortium of business schools accredited by the SBC for their excellence in supporting SMEs and the local economy.

The first LUMS Small Business Leadership Programme is already under way, with two more to start in January. For more information and to register, visit: https://smallbusinesscharter.org/small-business-leadership-programme/