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The Small Business Leadership Programme is a free 10-week online programme to develop senior managers’ strategic leadership skills and boost business growth.

This practical programme supports you, as a leader, to enhance your business’ resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

It’s a series of eight, 90-minute webinars, plus online group workshops with small business leaders from across the North West.

You’ll explore leadership, innovation, employee engagement, operational efficiency, marketing, sustainable practices, and finance.

Programme dates: Tuesday 9 February – Tuesday 30 March 2021

Designed by leading small business and enterprise experts

A group of 20 world-class UK business schools created the practical curriculum for this programme. It’s designed to be manageable alongside full-time work.

We all hold the Small Business Charter award, which celebrates business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship.

The Small Business Leadership Programme is free to eligible businesses as it’s funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It aims to support the resilience, recovery and growth of SMEs during and after COVID-19.

Programme curriculum

  • Innovation and Markets: Understand what is meant by innovation in business and explore how to apply it to your business. Unpack how it impacts on productivity and how it can help businesses to respond and recover from challenges.
  • Leadership and Employee Engagement: Develop your leadership skills to have a positive effect on the performance of your business; and assess the key elements of employee engagement to achieve high performance.
  • Vision, Purpose and Brand: Articulate your vision and values, and consider the culture of your business. You will assess the long-term impact and sustainability of your business.
  • Demand Creation and Customer Relationships: Identify key markets for your business and consider your approach to creating customer demand and building customer relationships.
  • Operational Efficiency: Build a strategic approach to operations management, including the use of digital technologies.
  • Finance and Financial Management: Understand the key elements and principles of financial management, and the use of financial data to support strategic decision making in your business.
  • Action Planning and Implementation: Develop an action plan for resilience and productivity in your business, including what key tools and metrics are required to measure your performance.


To join the Small Business Leadership Programme, you’ll need to be a decision-maker or a member of the senior management team within the business (for example, Chief Executive, Finance Director). At least one person should report directly to you.

Your business must:

  • be a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), employing between 5 and 249 people
  • have been operational for at least one year
  • be based in one of the following regions: Cheshire and Warrington; Cumbria; Greater Manchester; Lancashire; Liverpool City Region

You’ll also be required to complete all of the eight, 90-minute sessions.

Click to book your place online

Working with and supported by:

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