The four-month programme, Evolve Digital, will be run by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and is fully-funded by Innovate UK and the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is being launched for the first time in the North West to equip leaders of family businesses with the tools and techniques they need to enhance their leadership skills and boost their confidence when it comes to assessing and adopting technology.
Business leaders who sign up will either take part in an online cohort where they will benefit from peer learning and interactive sessions, or they will have access to an online series of practical materials and toolkits which take them through a journey to grow their business.
The programme will be rolled out in all corners of England and forms part of a new national research study which means participants will not only get the chance to help their own businesses, their experience will help inform the UK Government, shape policy and improve the support provision available to SMEs.
Professor Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, said: “Family businesses are tightly woven into the fabric of the UK and with close to five million family businesses in operation, they touch all sectors and employ millions of people. Their survival is key to the UK’s economic future; however, research suggests that family businesses are often slower to adopt digital technology which can impact on their growth and productivity.
“LUMS has been supporting SMEs for decades and with some of the world’s leading family business academics in-house, we are in a perfect position to help. We are proud to be the first to deliver this innovative programme which will give hundreds of family businesses a much-needed boost to better understand digital technology, cut through its complexity and get to grips with the benefits and limitations technology can offer. This will help ensure family businesses grow and thrive for generations to come.”
The first cohort will start on 10 November 2020 with subsequent cohorts starting in February and May 2021. SME family businesses across the North West may be eligible to apply to access this business support package, worth £3,000, if they employ less than 50 people and have been in operation for one year or more.