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Leading to Grow Programme

The Leading to Grow Programme will support small businesses to grow, innovate and increase productivity through adopting digital and new technologies.

The programme will help small business owners to explore digital and new technologies suited to their business goals, and to develop the management capabilities they need to implement the technologies.

We are proud to offer this as exciting programme as part of a consortium of business schools across England accredited by the Small Business Charter.

Participation is free to eligible ‘microbusinesses’ with between 1-9 employees. Places are fully funded by the Business Basics Fund from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

The Leading to Grow Programme benefits:

  • Develop your management capabilities to introduce digital and new technologies into your business.
  • Help you to analyse the costs and benefits so that you can make informed decisions about the right technology for your business.
  • Support you to maximise the benefits of digital and new technology in order to increase productivity and performance of your business.
  • Help you to encourage innovation and improve employee engagement within your business.
  • Create insights and knowledge to support other businesses like yours in future.

Programme features:

  • A half-day workshop led by small business experts at a local business school.
  • Tailored support and expertise specific to businesses of your size.
  • A network of small business leaders in your area focused on growth.
  • A peer-learning environment and input from successful business leaders based in your region.
  • An impartial overview of new technologies that can help you to grow your business.
  • The opportunity to receive further one-to-one tailored support.

Eligibility criteria

Your business must:

  • Be a formally registered business (i.e. the business must have a VAT number, or PAYE number, or Companies House registration) which has a trading history of three years or more.
  • Employ between 1 and 9 people.
  • Not have participated on a formal programme to raise productivity delivered by a business school in the last 12 months.

Dates and location

Room 15601, Hallam iLab, Aspect Court, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University.

3rd March 9am to 1pm 

5th March 1pm to 5pm

Background on the programme


The Business Basics Fund supports projects that test methods of encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to boost their productivity through ways of working and technology. The fund is administered by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

National trial

Participants on the programme will be part of an important national trial. All participants will attend a half-day workshop led by small business experts at a local business school. As part of the trial, 50% of the businesses will be selected at random to receive one-to-one mentoring support with an Entrepreneur-In-Residence. The impact of the programme on all participating businesses will be evaluated to inform the development of future programmes.

The Small Business Charter and partner business schools

The Small Business Charter is a national accreditation awarded by small businesses to business schools who excel in supporting small businesses, student enterprise, and the local economy.

The Leading to Grow Programme workshops and training will be provided by experts at 15 business schools that have been accredited by the Small Business Charter. 

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