Help to Grow: Supporting Business Managers

The Help to Grow: Management Course supports managers of small and medium sized businesses to help boost their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth.

This 12-week programme is designed to be taken alongside full-time work through a combination of online sessions and face-to-face learning. The in-depth, high-quality curriculum will support you to build your capabilities in leadership, innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business, and financial management. 

The programme is 90 per cent funded by the Government so you only pay £750. It is delivered in partnership with the Small Business Charter.

Contact to find out more

Features and Benefits

Participants on the programme have the opportunity to:

  • Access 12 weeks of learning designed to fit alongside work commitments
  • Develop a bespoke business growth plan to help your business reach its full potential
  • Get 1:1 support from a business mentor
  • Learn from peers and network with businesses just like yours.

Register for Help to Grow

Our next cohort starts June 2024

Contact us for more details or to register:

Register Now
Business owner in help to grow class

The Programme

The 12-week programme provides short-focused sessions allowing you to complete the course alongside running your business. Delivery methods include:

  • Eight facilitated two-hour online sessions
  • Four practical face-to-face case study workshops
  • Ten hours of one-to-one support from a mentor with experience of running a business, culminating in a personalised business growth plan
  • Peer networking, giving you the opportunity to share experience with other small business leaders
  • Access to the Alumni Network featuring events with inspirational speakers, business clinics, and networking opportunities.

Course Structure

Modules on the course cover Strategy and Innovation; Digital Adoption; Internationalisation and Winning New Markets; Vision, Mission and Values; Developing a Marketing Strategy; Building a Brand; Organisation Design; Employee Engagement and Leading Change; High Performance Workplace; Efficient Operations; Finance and Financial Management; and Implementing Growth Plans.


Module 1: Strategy and Innovation

Strategy and Innovation

This module focuses on:

  • Understanding innovation and its relationship to growth, profitability and productivity.
  • Reviewing your business model and value proposition in relation to current and future market opportunities.
  • Understanding how business model innovation can help you respond to, and recover from, challenges.
  • Finding out about the UK’s innovation ecosystem.
Module 2: Digital Adoption

Digital Adoption

This module focuses on:

  • Understanding the benefits of digital adoption for SMEs in innovating business models and seizing opportunities.
  • Considering what stage your business has reached on the path to digital adoption from digitisation to digital transformation, and identifying priority development areas.
  • Understanding the role of digital leadership and considering digital enablers to achieve a transformational culture.
  • Being alert to the risks of a digitised environment and ways to mitigate that risk.
Module 3: Internationalisation and Winning New Markets

Internationalisation and Winning New Markets

This module will take an in-depth look at how a business has:

  • Innovated its model.
  • Developed markets overseas.
  • Explored models to address opportunities in different countries.
  • Adapted their business model and overcame challenges.
  • How the experience encouraged them to innovate.
Module 4: Vision, Mission and Values

Vision, Mission and Values

This module focuses on:

  • Understanding the strategic value of vision, purpose and brand, their link to the customer value proposition and role in achieving competitive advantage.
  • Exploring vision, mission, and values statements and planning an approach for reviewing these in your business.
  • Defining brand components and how they add value to your business and customers.
  • Understanding the role of your business’s vision, values, and brand in organisational culture and employee engagement.
Module 5: Developing a Marketing Strategy

Developing a Marketing Strategy

This module focuses on:

  • Further developing your customer value proposition and your business’s approach to marketing.
  • Understanding market segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) within your business’s competitive environment.
  • Considering the stages in the buyer decision-making processes.
  • Starting to consider the benefits of database marketing.
Module 6: Building a Brand

Building a Brand

This modules explores how a business built a market-leading brand and continued to serve its customers’ needs through changing times. It also considers what challenges had to be overcome and how did the company stay true to its purpose and values.

Module 7: Organisation Design

Organisation Design

This module focuses on:

  • Identifying growth phases and when and how it will be necessary to evolve the shape of the organisation to implement growth.
  • Considering SME examples of different structures and ways of working and the implications for your workforce.
  • Jointly with others in your business, reviewing skills, roles, and training to ensure the required expertise is available to deliver the growth plan.
  • Considering structures and processes to facilitate agile working.
Module 8: Employee Engagement and Leading Change

Employee Engagement and Leading Change

This module focuses on:

  • Identifying appropriate strategies for leading change in an inclusive and engaging way.
  • Planning to implement approaches that enhance employee engagement.
  • Recognising the impact of your own leadership approach as a key enabler for growth.
  • Being able to utilise tools and resources collaboratively to lead your team towards strategic goals.
Module 9: High Performance Workplace

High Performance Workplace

This module focuses on:

  • Exploring an example of a company that has put employee engagement at the heart of their business and created an inclusive culture.
  • The tools and ways of working are innovative and productive, and the business has achieved growth through the way it works as much as through what it does.
Module 10: Efficient Operations

Efficient Operations

This module focuses on:

  • Understanding the role of operations and how to take a systemic approach, aligning operations with marketing strategy.
  • Analysing operations using a value flow map.
  • Considering an approach to key metrics which engages teams and creates a culture of continuous improvement in value flow.
  • Recognising how your operations improvement strategy contributes towards your Growth Action Plan.
Module 11: Finance and Financial Management

Finance and Financial Management

This module focuses on:

  • Using financial data to make informed decisions about future operations including identifying relevant financial metrics for monitoring growth and productivity.
  • Understanding the importance of cash flow forecasting in managing crisis and recovery.
  • Considering options for financing growth both internally and from external sources and being aware of where to source information and advice.
Module 12: Implementing Growth Plans

Implementing Growth Plans

This module focuses on:

  • Developing priorities and a timeline for implementation, using your Growth Action Plan.
  • Identifying the resources required to achieve the objectives in your Growth Action Plan.
  • Embedding key management practices critical to growth and productivity in your business.


By the end of the course, you will have had the opportunity to:

  • Create a growth action plan uniquely tailored to leading and growing your business
  • Develop your leadership and management skills, helping you to enhance employee wellbeing and engagement
  • Recognise what drives productivity and growth in your market and understand what this means for your business
  • Learn how to advance responsible business practices, including how you create an inclusive workplace and greener workplace practices
  • Understand how to innovate your business model and how to adopt and invest in new and digital technologies
  • Identify key domestic and export markets for your business and develop strategies for market segmentation, positioning, and targeting.
  • Develop strategies to help improve operational efficiency that can save time and money.

Recommended by over 90% of SME leaders*

*End of Year 1 Help to Grow: Management Evaluation report, an independent evaluation carried out by Ipsos Mori in partnership with the Institute for Employment Studies (March 2022).

Over 90% of SME leaders recommend Help to Grow


To participate in the Help to Grow: Management Course, your business must be a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) based in the United Kingdom and can be from any business sector, employing between five and 249 people. The business needs to have been operational for at least one year and not a charity. 

The applicant must also be a senior decision maker, such as chief executive, finance director, operations director, etc. and committed to completing all the sessions.

Please note: only one person per business can attend the programme.

For more information please contact

Chris Hardy

Director of Keith Hanson Road Transport, Newark

"The one thing that I loved about this course is the people that I have met, from all different businesses and sectors. We have really been able to help each other and bounce ideas off each other and enjoy it."

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Vernon Jones

CEO of AI Digital, Lincoln

"I have recently moved into a leadership role within the organisation from a projects and programme management background. Going on the course gave me skills that I haven’t been involved with before like marketing, sales and looking for leads."

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Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, Brayford Wharf East, Lincoln, LN5 7AT, UK

Telephone: +44 (0)1522 835509 | Email: