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Help to Grow Management Course

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Take your business to the next level

Join 30,000 senior leaders taking part in a practical management training course, a scheme delivered by world-class business schools, accredited by the Small Business Charter.

The Help to Grow: Management Course is a scheme that will support senior managers of small and medium-sized businesses to boost their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth.

The 12-week module course, which combines online sessions with face-to-face learning, is 90% funded by the Government and has been designed to allow participants to complete it alongside full-time work.

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. By the end of the course you will develop a business growth plan to help you lead your business to release its potential. The course is 90% subsided by the government – costing only £750.

Find out more:

Why choose the Help to Grow: Management course?

  • Enhance your management and strategic capabilities,
  • Produce a growth plan for your business,
  • Build resilience to future shocks,
  • Learn how to innovate your business,
  • Adopt digital technologies to boost productivity and operational agility,
  • Develop your value proposition and reach into growth markets,
  • Improve employee engagement and responsible business practices,
  • A blended course that combines interactive, online sessions with face-to-face learning to suit you.

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Participant stories

Hear from those who have completed the Help to Grow programme.


Online cohort

Join our online cohort with the 12-week programme conducted entirely online.

Cohort 16 East Midlands (exclusively online)

  • Onboarding: Thursday 22 November 2023
  • Start date: Thursday 29 November 2023
  • End date: Thursday 6 March 2023

Register your interest.

Participant fees

The Help to Grow: Management Course is part-funded by Government Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and will support senior managers of small and medium-sized businesses to boost their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth.

Support is valued at £7500. Participants will be required to make a 10% contribution towards the cost. A fee of £750 is payable before you commence Module 1.

Discretionary bursary

In some circumstances, we may be able to offer extra financial support in the form of a bursary. The bursary is intended to support those applicants who would otherwise struggle to meet the £750 course fee payment. Your bursary would not need to be repaid. If you have any questions about this bursary or your eligibility, please contact us.

About the programme


"SMEs really benefit by being part of the Nottingham Business School community and often they’re with us for years."

Dr. Lynn Oxborrow

The course

The course will cover key areas of leadership through the following modules:

Looking at the business model, innovation and how these help your SME to remain competitive and relevant as markets and customer needs evolve.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Understand innovation in the small business context and its relationship to strategies for growth, profitability and productivity,
  2. Have reviewed their business model and core value proposition,
  3. Understand how business model innovation can help recovery from challenges,
  4. Been introduced to innovation support.

Businesses that embrace the opportunities of digitisation and understand the potential of the data at their fingertips achieve productivity gains and competitive advantage.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Identify areas of their business for which automation will have business benefits,
  2. Have considered the potential of data analytics,
  3. Be alert to cybersecurity risks and protection,
  4. Be able to identify and address the challenges of digital adoption.

Looking in depth at how a business has

  1. innovated its business model,
  2. developed markets, including overseas,
  3. what entry models they used to address the opportunities in different countries,

And how the experience encouraged them to innovate.

Having a clear and consistent narrative about vision and purpose represented in the brand supports external positioning and internal engagement and culture.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Understand the strategic value of vision, purpose and brand, and the customer value proposition,
  2. Review vision, mission and values statements,
  3. Define the components of their brand and how it adds value to their customers,
  4. Understand the role of their business’s vision, values and brand in supporting internal engagement and culture.

This module focusses on understanding customers and considering their needs to develop a structured strategic approach to promote relevant products and services.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Have further developed their customer value proposition,
  2. Understand market segmentation and target marketing,
  3. Considered the stages in the buyer decision process and evolving the marketing and sales strategy and marketing mix to match,
  4. Explore managing the return on marketing investment.

Exploring how a business built a market-leading brand and continued to serve its customers needs through changing times. What challenges had to be overcome and how did the company stay true to its purpose and values.

Exploring the structures, skills and governance needed in the business now and as it grows. This module addresses knowledge management processes, structuring for productive, flexible and remote working, and the people implications of digital adoption.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Identify growth phases and changes needed to facilitate growth,
  2. Considered the implications of different structures and ways of working,
  3. Review skills, roles, processes and training needed to support growth and agile working.

Looking at leading others through change and enhancing performance through employee engagement, considering also diversity and wellbeing.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  • Understand how their personal leadership will be a key enabler for the success of their business,
  • Explore tools and techniques that engage and motivate,
  • Develop strategic management practices and decision-making to support productivity and agility.

An example of a company that has

  1. put employee engagement at the heart of their business,
  2. created an inclusive and productive culture,
  3. achieved growth through the way it works as much as through what it does.

Whatever the sector, there are operations within the business that generate outputs and add value for customers. This module looks at aligning operations with marketing and business strategy, how to identify factors that can disrupt value flow, and the importance of strategic partnerships, resilient supply chains and digital technologies.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Understand the role of operations in their business and how to take a systemic approach aligning operations with marketing strategy,
  2. Be able to analyse the operations in their business using a value flow map,
  3. Have considered an approach to key metrics and continuous improvement which engages teams and creates a culture of continuous improvement in value flow.

Covering the key financial statements and ratios and cash flow forecasting, what they mean for SMEs and how to identify the financial data relevant for monitoring growth for the individual business. This module also looks at financing growth both from the inside and from external sources relevant for SMEs.

Learning outcomes – participants will:

  1. Be able to use financial data to make informed decisions about future operations including identifying relevant financial metrics for monitoring growth and productivity,
  2. Understand the importance of cash flow forecasting in managing crisis and recovery, and know how to put a cash flow forecast together,
  3. Have considered options for financing growth both internally and from external sources and are aware of external finance options available and where to source information and advice.

Case study of an inspirational business leader who has successfully built a responsible and innovative business and can describe the approaches, networks and key enablers that were important for the successful delivery of their business growth plan.

Delivery format

Delivered through a blended format, the course is made up of eight virtual webinars, eight virtual peer group calls and four face-to-face case study workshops. Furthermore, the course includes up to 10 hours of one-to-one mentoring support to help you develop a realistic action plan to implement into your business. Upon completion, you will be able to access a wide range of exclusive benefits including events with inspirational speakers, business clinics and networking opportunities through the Help to Grow alumni programme.


  • Open to businesses with 5-249 employees.
  • Must have been operating for 1+ years.
  • Participants should be a member of the senior management team and have at least one direct report.
  • Can be located anywhere in the UK but must be prepared to travel to face-to-face case study workshop locations.
  • Restricted to one participant per business.

Mentoring scheme

All participants will be eligible for up to 10 hours of one-to-one mentoring support. Your mentor will support you with the development of realistic and valuable Growth Action Plans and provide advice on implementation. Nottingham Business School will work closely with each participant to match you with a mentor from our wide pool of professionals with sector specific industry experience or expertise in areas of your business you identify for priority support.

Meet the team

Find out more about some of our industry experts helping to deliver the Help to Grow: Management Course at Nottingham Business School.

Mark Smith

Mark is a Lecturer at Nottingham Business School specialising in brand strategy and customer experience. He is founder of The Brand Strategy marketing agency, helping brands to deliver long-term sustainable profit and growth through strategic direction and full customer experience planning.

Paul Wreaves

Paul is an experienced business coach and has worked on the Government Growth Accelerator Project, and delivered business consultancy support through the NTU Future Factory programme. Paul is a member of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and is often asked to deliver external workshops and talks on business growth and planning.

Suzanne Ross

Suzanne has experience of the public, private and third sectors across diverse organisations and is now part of the Executive Education and Corporate Relations team at Nottingham Business School. Her specialist areas include leadership behaviours, emotional intelligence and leading strategic change.

Ian Tracey

For over twelve years Ian has been active in delivering UK and international SME growth funding and financing workshops as well as regional and sector investment showcase events.

Steven Kear

Steven is an experienced director, engineer and consultant within the technology industry. His specialities include Solution Architecture, Internet of Things and Technical Marketing.

Aquila Yeong

Dr Aquila Yeong is a Senior Lecturer in Operations Management in the Department of Management. He was part of the management team who pioneered the deployment and operation of the first nationwide CDMA based digital trunked radio network.


Why NBS?

NBS has a long tradition of helping small and medium-sized enterprises to grow and flourish.

In the last 2 years we have:

  • Supported the growth and resilience of over 200 scaling SMEs through the UpScaler programme
  • Enabled over 100 SMEs to collectively respond to Covid challenges through the Small Business Leadership Programme
  • Encouraged over 500 SME employees to upskill through our short course programmes for Women in Leadership; Sustainable and Inclusive Leadership and Practical Marketing Skills

SME support at Nottingham Business School

At Nottingham Business School (NBS), we are proud of the range and impact of the support we have delivered to small businesses over recent years, but especially since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the economic challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the challenges of supporting clients online, our participating SMEs have attained incredible accomplishments. Nottingham Business School (NBS) is celebrating and reflecting upon our significant project milestones and keeping you up to date on what’s to come.


UpScaler is designed for companies that have been scaling up and have the potential to bounce back in the short-term and grow at pace in the longer term. Our 250 participating SMEs share £435millions combined turnover and 3550 Full Time Employees. We have also supported 150 SMEs from 12 to 90 hours and a total of 70 new jobs have been created!

The Big House Programme

The Big House programme offers a range of bespoke support to growing and established businesses within the creative and digital industries. No matter what stage or size you are, if you are trading and seeking to grow, we can support you.

Women in Leadership

Since January 2019, NTU have delivered a Women in Leadership course for current or aspiring women managers and leaders in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This course has supported an amazing 243 women leaders in 17 cohorts, and 144 of these have achieved 20 Post Graduate credits.

Sustainable and Inclusive Leadership programme

The Sustainability and Inclusive Leadership (SAIL) programme explores the global climate crisis, the very real impact that this will have on the economic landscape, and how important it is for businesses to be more sustainable as they work towards COVID-19 recovery. Since this course launched in September, we have had 79 learners in 7 cohorts, and 54 participants have received Carbon Literacy Certificates and have gone on to complete our assessments and received credits at Level 4.

Practical Marketing Skills short course

This course which is fully funded for eligible participants and delivered over four sessions, explores the role and function of marketing within SMEs, the factors influencing customer behaviour, and the application of marketing in different settings. It has had an incredible 175 budding marketeers enrol to this course in 14 cohorts, and 140 people achieved 12 CIM credits and 31 improved their career opportunities.

Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs 2019-21

The Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and supports employees of SMEs to access free bespoke, employer-led training, career coaching and advice to up-skill their employees in vocational and high-level technical skills. This course finished at the end of June and has been running for 3 ½ years and has seen significant impact. We have had 528 participants and 338 of these participants have achieved a level 3 or higher award, and 137 have improved their career prospects.

Contact us

For enquiries please contact