We were delighted yesterday to have attended an event at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde University Business School, previewing their newly launched Growth Advantage Programme for entrepreneurs. ?Professor Eleanor Shaw, along with Dr?John Anderson, gave a fascinating insight into the history of both Strathclyde University, the Business School and the Hunter Centre before introducing the new programme.
We have long been advocates of sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences and these factors underpin our ethos of peer-to-peer learning, development and support for Scottish entrepreneurs. ?Whilst we facilitate sharing and learning within our community through introductions and relevant, topic-based events, there has long been a real need for a more formal, practical and action-based education programme. ?This is exactly what the Growth Advantage Programme will deliver.
It will, without doubt, have considerable impact on the ability of Scottish entrepreneurs to achieve their growth potential and scale their businesses to the betterment of the Scottish economy as a whole. ?As we all know, being an entrepreneur can, at times, be a lonely existence, regardless of the size of the business. ? Additionally, many business owners lack the benefits of formal education, training and coaching which can equip them with the leadership skills and commercial acumen to achieve the optimum potential of their companies.
English business owners have benefited from being able to attend the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme or the LEAD Programme, however, in Scotland, in order to participate in a core growth programme, entrepreneurs have had to head South to Cranfield or perhaps invest in a programme at MIT or Babson. ?How refreshing therefore, to have a programme developed and delivered in our own country by a highly respected, talented and award-winning Business School and the Hunter Centre.
Two particular phrases mentioned today really struck a chord with us, “useful learning” and “not chalk and talk” when referring to the Growth Advantage Programme – quite literally music to our ears. ?In our experience, learning works best when it is action-based and participants are able to measure real and tangible benefits in the day-to-day running and development of their businesses.
It is no surprise to us that Santander are supporting the programme. ?They have been sponsors of WeDO for the past 3 years and we have found it highly refreshing to have developed a positive, mutually beneficial and ongoing relationship with their team in Scotland. ?Breakthrough, Santander’s SME support programme, is the most forward-thinking initiatives we have seen from any bank. ?Two of our members, Ailsa Proverbs?MBE of The Big Cheesemaking Kit (winner of our 2013 New Start Business of the Year Award) and Erica Moore of Eteaket (Runner-Up in our 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award) were both fortunate to have participated in one of Breakthrough’s Trade Missions to New York in 2013. ?This proved to be an experience which they found immensely beneficial and both were amazed at the receptions, events and meetings that Santander arranged during the trip.
Last year?Pete Higgins of UWI Technology, our 2013 High Growth Company of the Year Award winner?and Ian Cander of Pod Global Solutions, winner of Most Innovative Business 2011?attended a Breakthrough Masterclass at Linn Products?and 2014 Award winners. ?In November, two of our 2014 Award winners, ?Stuart Hunter?of Advance Global Recruitment?-?Entrepreneur of the Year & Martin Walker?of Everycare Edinburgh?-?High Growth Company of the Year along with Paul Bodger?of Anytime Leisure?-?winner of our 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year as well as?2012 High Growth Company of the Year?-?attended a Masterclass?at Crieff Hydro. ?Santander’s ongoing commitment to working with and supporting entrepreneurs is demonstrable, appreciated and one which other banks would do well to emulate.
Santander’s Internship programme has also been hugely beneficial to our members and many have taken advantage of this fantastic initiative, enabling them to take on an intern with 50% of the salary costs being covered by Santander. Just last week, we held our first Breakfast Forum of 2015 on “Internationalising Your Business”, sponsored and hosted by Santander. ?Our members and guests heard about the Santander Trade Portal from Chris Lynch, Director, International for Santander UK along with WeDO member, Steve Turner of Scottish Development International who presented an overview of the Smart Exporter programme, and also from Sarah Chanter of Eteaket.
THE HUNTER CENTRE EXPLAINs MORE ABOUT THE GROWTH ADVANTAGE PROGRAMME
With SMEs accounting for 99.3% of all private sector enterprises for Scotland*, there’s never been a better or more important time to support and nurture these businesses.
The backbone of the Scottish economy, SMEs have made a substantial contribution in helping the wheels of industry turn again, bringing economic benefits to the country as a whole. ?It’s essential that this momentum and ambition continues with opportunities for large scale, long-term growth being capitalised on by business owners.
Each business faces its own set of challenges but with growth taking place across all sectors, it’s vital for owners with an outward looking vision to take a step back from the day-to-day demands of scaling their business to develop a robust strategy for growth. ?The Growth Advantage Programme, a specially-designed 10 month business acceleration programme, provides the necessary platform to do just that. ?Enabling entrepreneurs and growth-focused business owners to gain business insights, management skills and know-how, it provides a unique opportunity for business owners to realise and achieve their organisation’s full growth potential.
Working with Breakthrough, Santander’s SME support programme, the Growth Advantage Programme is delivered through the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, based within the University of Strathclyde Business School. ?Endowed by alumnus, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter, the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship is one of the most important social investments made by the Hunter Foundation. ?The Hunter Centre is focused on the study, research and encouragement of entrepreneurship within Scotland and is committed to engaging in and drawing from world class research to inform the design and delivery of a growing portfolio of learning experience.
One of the largest university-based centres of entrepreneurship in the UK, the Hunter Centre is home to a team of recognised experts in: ?growing innovative firms; ?global and international entrepreneurship; ?enterprise policy, education and economic development; ?entrepreneurial management and leadership; ?enterprise and diversity; ?social enterprise and philanthropy; ?entrepreneurial collaboration and networking and, family business and enterprising households.
Aimed at businesses with a ?500k – ?25m turnover, and a 20% year-on-year increase in turnover, profit or people, the programme consists of five workshop sessions:
- Growth Advantage Orientation Session
- Workshop One – Market Advantage
- Workshop Two – Operations Advantage
- Workshop Three – Resourcing the Growth Advantage
- Workshop Four – Leadership Advantage
Recognising the demands of business ownership, each workshop will take place on Fridays and Saturdays. ?The programme will begin with an evening Orientation Session including a dinner and an inspiring story from a high growth entrepreneur.
The following day will focus on understanding the businesses and challenges of fellow participants as well as discussing various pathways to growth. ?With a networking dinner being an integral part of each workshop, you can be assured of excellent opportunities for building relationships with your peers and expanding your contacts. ?To get the most from these opportunities we recommend that participants must be the founding managing director, chief executive or principal of the business with a significant ownership interest.
Participants will also benefit from:
- Access to a dedicated Growth Advantage learning environment which will support real time interactivity, discussion and debate amongst Growth Advantage participants and experienced programme facilitators.
- Dedicated Strathclyde and Santander learning materials and marketing intelligence.
- Attendance at ?Pinnacles of Growth? – a regular feature of all Growth Advantage workshops where leaders of high-growth firms will present and discuss their own experiences, in an informal and relaxed setting, providing both memorable inspiration and practical guidance.
- A tailored events programme informed by participants? hot topics relevant to their own particular growth strategies, providing diverse insights into the challenges faced by growing businesses and how to overcome these hurdles.
The programme will take place at Strathclyde University and venues selected by the University, commencing May 2015 with the deadline for application being March 31. ?Programme fees are subsidised by Santander Breakthrough and are therefore reduced from the usual cost of ?7,500 to ?2,000.
We wish all the team at the Hunter Centre the very best of luck and we look forward to helping them to promote excellence in entrepreneurialism delivered via the Advanced Growth Programme. ?For more information about the programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on?0141-548-3482.?
* Scottish Government website March 2014
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