Published on 06/05/2022
Business
  • Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • Businesses trading in Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry & Warwickshire LEP areas can take part
  • Participants will be able to build networks with other business owners and pitch their growth action plan to external business and finance experts.

Applications are open for Aston Business School’s free premier business support programme to help SMEs grow by increasing their turnover and creating jobs.

Businesses trading in Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry & Warwickshire LEP areas can take part in the programme’s final cohort of 2022.

There will also be an online information session taking place on the 13 May for those interested in finding out more about the programme to attend. You can sign up for that here.

Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is helping small businesses to create a clear growth action plan with support from a series of face-to-face workshops taught by experts in SME leadership and management and one-to-one guidance from an experienced business mentor.

Participants will be able to build networks with other business owners from across Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry & Warwickshire and pitch their growth action plan to external business and finance experts.

The programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has supported more than 250 businesses since its first cohort back in 2015.

A 2019 industry-standard evaluation revealed:

•           A turnover increase by an average of 38% one year after completing the programme

•           94% of business leaders became more confident in growing their business

•           79% of participants improved their ability to use financial data more in decision making.

Business leaders of early-stage micro-enterprises have until 17 June 2022 to apply for cohort ten of the programme which begins on 14 September 2022.

Janet Bridgwater, from Bridgwater Consultancy, completed the programme in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and particularly benefited from the support of Aston Business School professor of small business and entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, Mark Hart.

“I also received fabulous 1-2-1 support from by business mentor.

“I would recommend applying for the programme, especially coming out of a pandemic when businesses need the most support.”

Past programme participant, Sandra Berns from Centric HR, began to experience the benefits of Aston Programme for Small Business Growth after less than four months of being on the programme:

“I’m delighted to report that we are on track to hit our annual turnover target of £400k – up from £130k from last year.

“Just listening to my programme mentor, Tim, and bouncing ideas around with him has enabled me to grow my confidence, provide assurance that I’m on the right lines and take action - especially in relation to finances and cash flow.”

Manny Athwal, from School of Coding, completed the programme in 2019 as part of the fifth cohort:

“Implementing learnings from the programme has resulted in our business turnover increasing by 380% in less than a year.”

Contact Aston Centre for Growth on 0121 204 3225 or email at centreforgrowth@aston.ac.uk to determine eligibility and apply for an Aston Programme for Small Business Growth September 2022 start.

For more information, click here.

Notes to Editors

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth you need to own a small business or lead a social enterprise and have the desire and drive to grow your business.  The business must:

•           Have an operational address in the Coventry and Warwickshire or the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP regions.

•           Be trading for at least 12 months and be able to provide evidence of trading revenue

•           Have a least one FTE employee (employee can be the business leader)

•           Be an SME and meet the De Minimis State Aid criteria (received no more than €200,000 State Aid in the last 3 years)

Please note: Agricultural businesses are not eligible for this programme.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Loer Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)74469 10063 or email: s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521
    s.p.smith@aston.ac.uk

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065
    s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159
    r.hume@aston.ac.uk

Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager
    n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

Alternatively, email pr@aston.ac.uk

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