£20m to improve small business leadership and problem-solving skills
As the coronavirus crisis spurs British businesses to adopt new ways of working, the government is investing £20 million to improve small businesses’ management, productivity and problem-solving skills through two training programmes.
The Small Business Leadership Programme will focus on strengthening decision-makers’ leadership skills, so they are able to address management challenges, some of which, such as remote working, have arisen from coronavirus.
According to the government, the programme will equip business leaders with the confidence and leadership skills to plan for the future of their business, and ensure that they are in a great position to recover from the impacts of coronavirus.
The 10-week programme – which will be delivered virtually by experts from university business schools – will teach participants how to maximise their business’ potential by improving productivity, organisation and efficiency. Business will undertake a series of 90-minute webinars delivered by leading business experts, and will also be required to complete up to two hours of independent study and peer supported learning per week.
Additionally, the Peer Networks Programme will focus on helping business owners improve their problem-solving skills, through a series of guided exercises.
Participants will take part in sessions where common coronavirus related business challenges will be discussed, such as finding new customers and using technology such as customer record management and websites to adapt a business model.
"I know from my own experience of running small businesses just how valuable the advice and experience of experts and peers can be when you are looking to grow your company," said Small Business Minister Paul Scully.
"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. These schemes will help equip small business leaders with the leadership, resilience and problem-solving skills they need to grow their firms in the wake of this pandemic."
Anne Kiem, OBE, CEO of Chartered Association of Business Schools and executive director of the Small Business Charter, noted that given that the effects of coronavirus have been particularly damaging for small businesses, providing their leaders with the experience and knowledge to survive and thrive will be essential for the future success of the country.
"While cash injections are important, for the long-term, business leaders need the skills to ensure they and their businesses are resilient and can grow throughout this period and beyond. Accessing experts from the world-leading business schools we have in this country will be an essential resource for businesses in the months and years to come," said Ms Kiem.
There are 2,000 places available on the Small Business Leadership Programme and 6,000 on the Peer Networks programme.