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New free programme to help small businesses survive and thrive beyond Covid

Leeds Beckett University has teamed up with the Small Business Charter to deliver a specialised government-funded programme for leaders of small businesses in Yorkshire to survive and thrive beyond the COVID pandemic.

To aid business resilience and future growth in the current climate, the Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) comes as part of a £20million package the government are providing to help small businesses to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The free programme has a practical focus and is delivered by small business and management experts from Leeds Business School at Leeds Beckett.

The SBLP will be delivered online through eight 90-minute webinars over the course of 10 weeks and will provide the knowledge needed for businesses to tackle crisis situations.

It will also give businesses the opportunity to strengthen their business network and create peer groups.  Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance. The course will also focus on areas including innovation, operational efficiency, marketing and finance.

The SBLP is being delivered across the country by a consortium of business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter (SBC) – including Leeds Beckett. The SBC is an award for the UK’s world-class business schools, and celebrates business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship.

Professor George Lodorfos, Dean of Leeds Business School (pictured top), said: “I believe that resilient, agile and innovative SMEs could be a lifeline to economic recovery both at regional and national level. Therefore, I am very pleased to be able to offer entrepreneurs and SME leaders access to a leadership development programme designed to support them in managing sustainable businesses of the future.” 

Anne Kiem, OBE, CEO of Chartered Association of Business Schools and Executive Director of the Small Business Charter, said: “As we continue to grapple with the Coronavirus crisis it is also essential we look long term to ensure small businesses are supported to build resilience, survival and growth. Business schools can provide the expertise and knowledge all business owners and directors need to continue to thrive in uncertain times.”

Small Business Minister, Paul Scully, said: “The strength of small businesses up and down the country will be vital as we begin to bounce back from coronavirus and re-build our economy. The Small Business Leadership Programme will help to equip small business leaders with the leadership and problem-solving skills they need to grow their firms in the wake of this pandemic.”

Coronavirus has put untold pressure on directors and CEOs of small companies trying to navigate unchartered waters. According to a recent McKinsey online survey of UK SMEs, 80 percent of small businesses reported their revenues were declining in June 2020.

The Government has made up to £30 billion available to support economic recovery and businesses can continue to draw on a range of financial support during this challenging time, including loans, tax deferrals and cash grants. The SBLP will help businesses to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus and prepare for any future disruption.