The Government has been running a scheme for a while whose aim is to drive growth in the SME sector. It has often been referred to as “One of their best kept secrets!”
The scheme offers companies, that meet the application criteria, the chance to access funded training, FREE use of business coaches and attendance at a series of six half day workshops.
In our opinion this is an outstanding offering and has the potential to make a substantial difference to the growth prospects of small businesses and our economy as a whole.
The application process is very simple, quick and straight forward. Firstly companies have to register on a website. Once registered they receive a phone call from a Growth Manager to assess eligibility based upon the following criteria (not exhaustive):-
- Size – must be less than 250 employees
- Potential – must be able to demonstrate a real growth potential of 20% average of 3 years in terms of turnover or employment. Startups need to be have the potential to turnover £1m within 3 years of inception
- Location – must be located in England
If the application is successful a very rapid process of identification of needs and methods to satisfy that need kicks in.
Types of support
There are four themes for the support that is on offer:-
- Business Development Coaching – aimed at unlocking the barriers to growth and coaching the business leaders to fulfil their potential
- Access to finance – helping businesses navigate to the best sources of finance to fund their growth
- Growth through Innovation – aimed at helping companies become more innovative and creative in what they sell and how they go about selling
- Leadership & Management – aimed at equipping the company with the skills necessary to maximise the potential they have in their team.
This is the journey a potential business will go through in order to access this lucrative support.
- Application: web based
- Phone Interview By Growth Manager: test and assess ambition, opportunity, and capacity, determine if company is right for programme, and identify optimum coaching journey
- Growthmapper: helps to identify barriers to growth and provides an agenda for a dialogue
- Face to Face Session: Growth Manager and Senior Management discuss Growthmapper and “identify the pains” that Growth Accelorator might address leading to Scope of Support
- Scope of Support: an outcome based record of the support on offer: expressed as Work Packages not as “days of support”
- Coach Matching: if company agree scope of support then a coach is matched against the scope of support and engaged
The Growth Mapper is an outstanding tool consisting of 10 questions in each of 10 areas of the business. The objective is to surface the areas where the most benefit can up gained from the scheme and to unlock the blockages to growth that exist in the business. Ideally the questionnaire is completed by a range of management team members in order to get a diverse range of opinions.
Not only is the Growth Mapper highly informative; it only takes 15 minutes to complete!
The 10 areas addressed in the questionnaire are:-
- Marketing and Sales
- Access to finance
- People and skills
An INSIGHT report is then automatically generated that gets under the skin of the business and illuminates the coaching process
Scope of Support
Each client engagement has a Scope of Support document drawn up for them by the Growth Manager. This document includes typically three work packages centred around the outcome of the Growth Mapper. Each work package includes details of the milestone e.g. to develop a sales generation process and pipeline, a deliverable and % of the total coaching time that will be allocated to this work package.
Training and development
In addition to the FREE coaching, access to the six FREE half day workshops and the expert support that comes with all of this, business can also access up to £2000.00 per person of matched funding towards training and development in pursuit of the skills necessary to unlock their potential. This matched funding alone makes the sign-up fee pale into insignificance and can be used for in-company training, external courses or qualifications courses. Many business have already used this to fund staff development on CIM Marketing qualification, CMI Management qualification courses to name but a few.
Coaches with many years of experience, the battle scars to prove it and access to a wealth of knowledge can be an invaluable resource to any business. They are able to take a different perspective on the challenges facing your business and do not suffer from the tunnel vision syndrome often prevalent in management teams.
Most importantly, this coach would normally command a fee of many thousands of pounds, is provided to businesses on the scheme absolutely FREE of charge.
Coaches do not provide you with a “basket of fish”, they “teach you how to fish”. This means that once the project is over you are self sufficient and able to continue your growth curve and reap the rewards for many years to come.
Half day workshops
Members of the scheme have access to any or all of the six sessions that are organised regularly in each region. The areas covered are as follows:-
- Strategy – Plan to win
- Leadership – Inspiring your team
- High Growth Teams – Developing Your People
- Sales & Marketing – Winning and growing profitable customers
- Delivering Value – Achieving more for less
- Change Management – Navigating your High Growth journey
There is a small fee for inclusion on the scheme, which should be looked on as an investment rather than the cost, as the benefits far outweigh the few hundred pounds plus VAT that is charged.
The fee is based on the number of employees and ranges from £600.00 to £3000.00 plus VAT.
As this is geared to making a real difference quickly and is very much about effectiveness and efficiency, the timescales are short. You wont find long-winded forms to fill in or protracted approval processes.
Typically a project takes 6-9 months to complete and has a maximum duration of 12 months.
When you consider that each project is targeted to increase the turnover by over £100k you can see why this is such a compelling proposition.
The scheme is administered on behalf of the Government by a consortium of four organisations with regional responsibility around England. These are:-
- The North – Winning Pitch
- The Midlands and East – Pera in conjunction with SJIC
- London and Herts – Grant Thornton
- The South – Oxford Innovation
Each of these organisations have a team of Growth Managers of undertake the initial assessment, match coaches with clients and monitor the overall relationship between the stakeholders.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about this outstanding opportunity to make a substantial difference to the prospects of your business pick up the phone to me Martin Hutchins on 01223 365505, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you answers to your questions or simply call you back and talk you through how this can be of real benefit to you.
*Growth Accelerator is now know as the Business Growth Service.