Businesses have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19, feeling the economic strain of two lockdowns. Michelle Ovens, the chairwoman of the Small Business Charter, explains why a new programme for SME leaders can help them to adapt and grow into 2021…
What is the course and who is it aimed at?
The Small Business Leadership Programme is a free 10-week online course to support business leaders to guide their businesses through survival and growth in response to Covid-19. It provides timely management training in areas including innovation, financial planning, marketing, and employee engagement. Funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Small Business Leadership Programme is being delivered by Small Business Charter accredited business schools across England.
Why will it benefit SMEs?
By participating in the Small Business Leadership Programme, business leaders can learn new skills and gain valuable insights into new ways to innovate and adapt. It also brings a fantastic peer-network, allowing you to learn with other businesses who are experiencing similar challenges.
Do SMEs have any advantages over larger businesses in navigating Covid-19 issues?
Smaller firms are by nature agile and innovative. They are not tied down by the same red-tape processes as big businesses and tend to think creatively, bringing new ideas, or new ways to solve old problems. This dynamic approach is precisely what is needed now.
Why is the Small Business Leadership Programme important now?
The pandemic has been a catalyst for change, prompting businesses to make improvements that they might not have done otherwise, from enhancing their online offering and forging partnerships to finding new markets and sales channels. The programme includes sessions from experts in subjects from marketing and branding to financial planning, so business leaders can fill in any gaps in their knowledge.
What type of SMEs will gain most?
From young tech companies of five people, to family run businesses and retailers, to medium-sized manufacturing firms with 249 staff, this programme will support senior managers across all sectors to address the common challenges they are facing in navigating Covid-19 and preparing for future growth.
What will businesses take away from it, going forward into 2021?
The ultimate aim is for small businesses to feel more confident, resilient and prepared for the next stage of their business. The next few months will undoubtedly be tough, and this programme will offer vital help to build key skills to steer your business over the hurdles of Covid-19 and to come out stronger.
• Small business experts from leading business schools will facilitate a series of eight 90-minute online sessions and peer-to-peer learning over 10 weeks.
• Senior managers of SMEs operating for at least one year and with 5-249 employees are eligible.
• There’s no cost. The Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) is part of a £20million Government package to help small businesses make a strong recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 and develop their long-term potential.