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Help to Grow is a national business growth programme for senior leaders being delivered in Preston and Blackburn by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and on campus at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and on campus at Lancashire School for Business and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire.

They are all accredited by the Small Business Charter.

Designed to be manageable alongside running your business, this programme will support you to develop your strategic skills with key modules covering strategy, innovation, marketing, digital adoption, organisational design and change management.

By the end of the programme, you will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead your business to its full potential.

The 12-week programme is 90% funded by the Government and the fee payable by participants is £750.

The programme consists of:

  • Eight facilitated online two-hour sessions
  • Four face to face practical and interactive case study workshops
  • Ten hours of mentoring support to help you produce a growth plan
  • Peer networking, including peer group calls that give you the opportunity to share experiences with a small group of other small business leaders
  • Access to the Alumni Programme featuring events with inspirational speakers, business clinics and networking events

Over the 12 weeks, you’ll explore the following key areas:

  • Strategy and innovation
  • Growing national and international markets
  • Leading for high performance
  • Building vision and brand
  • Engaging and inspiring teams
  • Creating customer value
  • Adopting digital technology
  • Adopting responsible business practices
  • Financial management

Benefits to business

  • Enhance your management and strategic capabilities
  • Produce a growth plan for your business
  • Build resilience to future shocks
  • Learn how to innovate in 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

Who can take part?

This programme is 90% funded by UK Government and is for senior decision-makers in eligible businesses that meet the following criteria:

  • Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) based in the United Kingdom
  • From any business sector, employing between 5 and 249 people
  • Have been operational for at least one year
  • Not be a charity

When does the programme start?

The next Manchester Metropolitan University cohort starts on Monday, October 2, 2023 and is taking place at the Manchester Tech Centre, Oxford Road to register email: or

The next Lancaster University Management School cohort starts on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. Location: Online and Face-to-Face at Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4YX. Register here.

The next University of Central Lancashire cohort starts Tuesday October 31, 2023. Location: Online and face-to-face in Preston.
Delivered by: Lancashire School for Business and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire. Register here.

Find out more

To find out more or to register your interest for the Manchester Metropolitan University cohort please email Michael Dobson at MMU

To apply for the programme at Lancaster visit Help to Grow: Management or contact the programme team email

To find our more or to register your interest for the University of Central Lancashire cohort please email 

Contact our Business Support Helpdesk and start your growth conversation

If you’re starting, growing or scaling a business and want to find out how our funded services can help you, please contact our experienced team today. We’d love to support your growth ambitions.

  • Funded By UK Gov
  • Levelling Up Logo
  • Dept For Trade And Business logo
  • Northern Powerhouse
  • LCC