The Chancellor has called on small and medium business leaders to sign up to a new programme designed to hone their expertise as he attended one of the first courses in the UK today (August 2).
Rishi Sunak joined a class taking part in the government-funded management scheme at Aston Business School alongside small business owners to see first-hand how it is giving them the tools they need to innovate, grow and help drive the recovery from Covid.
The Chancellor delivered a talk to participants at the business school in Birmingham on the critical role small businesses can play in boosting UK productivity. He then took part in a group activity and led a discussion about their own business models and opportunities for growth.
The scheme, which was announced by the Chancellor at the March Budget and opened for applications in May, will give 30,000 SMEs access to world-class business expertise on everything from financial management to marketing, and is a pivotal part of the government’s Plan for Jobs.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
Five universities have already started to offer courses – Aston, Portsmouth, Derby, Nottingham, and Birmingham City. Over August, four universities will follow – Coventry, Kingston, Strathclyde and Nottingham Trent.
The programme is being delivered by business schools across the country and was developed in close partnership with the business community to ensure it is as relevant as possible.
Leading business groups – including CBI, FSB, BCC, IoD and Make UK – have also played a key role in supporting the programme design.
According to the ONS, making small improvements in management practices can lead to a 10% increase in productivity. Analysis from the CBI suggests that boosting the productivity profile UK SMEs to match that of Germany could add up to £100bn to the economy.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI President, said:
NatWest, Barclays and HSBC will support thousands of places on the executive training programme through combined funding of £2.75 million. They will also contribute their significant expertise to the curriculum, mentoring programme and alumni network. By playing an active role in promoting the scheme to their SME customers, the banks will help us ensure a wide range of businesses benefit from Help To Grow: Management.
In addition, an expert advisory council with senior representatives from Goldman Sachs, the Chartered Management Institute, Social Enterprise UK and the SME Micro-Fresh, is providing expert insight and external challenge to the design of the programme.
Mark Hart, member of the expert advisory council and Professor at Aston Business school, said:
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