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Small businesses hit by the pandemic to access support through government partnership with Nottingham Business School

Nottingham Business School (NBS) is working with the Small Business Charter to deliver a specialised government funded programme for leaders of small businesses to survive and thrive in the coming months and post coronavirus. This new scheme comes as part of a £20million package the government are providing to help small businesses in the long term.

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The Small Business Leadership Programme will aid business resilience and future growth
  • The announcement comes as part of a £20 million package announced by the government to support the recovery and growth of small and medium-sized businesses following the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Nottingham Business School will be delivering the Small Business Leadership Programme run by the Small Business Charter
  • The programme, rolled out through business schools across England, will help leaders make their businesses more resilient and productive for the long-term

To aid business resilience and future growth in the current climate, the Small Business Leadership Programme will create peer groups to develop stronger leadership, innovation, operational efficiency, marketing and finance.

NBS holds Small Business Charter (SBC) accreditation which is awarded by small businesses to business schools which excel in supporting SMEs and the local economy.

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 in 2020.

The Government has made up to £30 billion available to support economic recovery ahead of the Autumn and businesses can continue to draw upon 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.

The practical syllabus provides business leaders with access to small business and management experts from NBS. The Small Business Leadership Programme is free and fully funded by the Government to enhance small business resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 and develop potential for future growth and productivity.

The short and focused programme will be delivered online through a structured course of 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.  Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance.

Dr Lynn Oxborrow, Principal Lecturer in Small Business and Supply Chain Management at NBS, said: “At NBS we have a proud history of providing tangible support to a range of businesses, from start-ups and entrepreneurs to Scale-Ups. During the pandemic we adapted our SME support to deliver online Forums, workshops and coaching and have provided support to over 130 SMEs, most of whom have been stimulated to make changes in order to take their businesses forwards in spite of the challenges they face.”

Following participation in another SME project, Jess Barnett, Co-Director of TTK Ltd, said: “it was ideally suited for my young, fast growing SME, particularly in helping to lead the development of a more effective management team. I was always made to feel welcome, confident and comfortable. It’s encouraged me to mix and network, which definitely supports free flowing ideas and sharing suggestions… it’s very much run for the benefit of the participants.”  

Anne Kiem, OBE, CEO of Chartered Association of Business Schools and Executive Director of the Small Business Charter: “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.”

Paul Scully, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 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.”

  • Notes for editors

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2020 National Student Survey, above the sector average of 83%.

    About The Small Business Charter

    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 Small Business Leadership Programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Data on the impact of the programme on the participating small businesses will be gathered and used to inform future policy and interventions for small businesses.

    Programme details:

    • The programme will begin in September 2020.
    • There will be 100 cohorts throughout England beginning between September 2020 and January 2021. Nottingham Business School will be running 2-3 start dates in the East Midlands
    • Registrations must be received before end December 2020
    • The programme will be open to 2,000 business across the country
    • It is a free fully funded business programme.
    • For more details and to register, visit:

    Eligibility criteria

    1. To join the Small Business Leadership Programme, your business must:
      • Be a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) based in England
      • From any business sector, employing between 5 and 249 people
      • Have been operational for at least one year
      • The participant should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business eg Chief Executive, Finance Director etc with at least one person reporting directly to them
      • Participants will be required to complete all sessions
    2. If you meet the eligibility criteria, it is quick and easy to apply for the programme.
    3. If this programme isn’t right for you, please also see the Peer Networks Scheme.

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Published on 31 July 2020
  • Category: Business; Press office; Nottingham Business School