Small Business Charter Growth Vouchers Programme

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1 Small Business Charter Growth Vouchers Programme Programme Summary and Applicant Information

2 Are you passionate about growing your business? With access to high quality leadership and management education from a national consortium of leading universities, you can give yourself the best possible start. The Government is helping small businesses, like yours, to access strategic advice from a national network of business schools. They are match funding 2,000 towards the cost of a targeted business growth programme run by top business school, offering a full programme of key growth areas. Full Programme Content Running between January and March 2015, the full programme consists of 7 modular workshops, 10 hours of one-to-one support from a business mentor, a series of 3 specialist workshops and the opportunity to attend national networking events. The programme is specifically designed to address the issues faced by small businesses as they grow and is practically focussed to help owner managers apply business theory within the workplace. The modular workshop structure allows participants to develop and implement strategies to bring immediate benefits to the business. Participants learn with their peers during the workshops, building a network of contacts that will continue beyond the programme, and have the support of their mentor between workshops to help them apply the learning to their own business context. Seven Growth Workshops 1. Review of Growth Opportunity This session looks inwards at the capabilities within the business and outwards at the opportunities available through a good understanding of the marketplace. Competitor analysis show your position in the marketplace and the feasibility and desirability of future strategic moves. 2. Cash Flow and General Financial Management The business leader needs to have a good understanding of cash flow to make sound business decisions and identify the need for additional funding. This workshop provides the

3 practical help including cost behaviour and analysis, the importance of the timing of cash flows, cash flow planning, working capital management and decision making. 3. Marketing Strategies This session will include an evaluation of the strategic marketing options available to small firms with regard to customer targeting, product/service mix, promotion and brand. Practical exercises and case examples will help firms to develop realistic marketing goals and explore practical solutions for implementing these with limited resources. This will include aspects of traditional and social media marketing. 4. Managing People - HR Strategies for a Growing Small Business This workshop will consider the skills and people resources needed as the small business grows, and strategies the business leader needs to develop when structuring and managing their team. It will look at identifying roles and people, the processes required for successful recruitment, performance management and aspects of employment law. 5. Process Mapping This workshop will cover process mapping, raising awareness of bottlenecks that prevent business growth. It looks at the process mapping tools that SMEs can use to diagnose problems. Business leaders will learn how to identify operational barriers to growth within their business, and the skills to rework operational procedures to address those barriers. 6. Raising Finance for Growth This session covers forms of finance available for entrepreneurial business growth such as Private Equity, Debt and other sources. It will include the opportunity to discuss investment needs with investors who manage funds, and entrepreneurs with experience of raising external funding. Business leaders will identify funding gaps for their own business growth and consider different funding options. 7. Planning the Next Steps This workshop will provide a framework for the business leaders to consolidate their plans for growth, drawing together the learning from workshops 1-6. You will consider implementation in detail, and use goal setting, prioritising and scheduling to provide a structured action plan with strategies for identifying and addressing any issues. Specialist Workshops In addition to the seven Growth Workshops, participants will attend three specialist workshops tailored to the needs of their business and giving an opportunity to work on topics form the core workshops in more detail, such as sales strategies, use of social media and leadership. One-to-one Business Mentor All participants on the full programme will benefit from ten one-to-one hours from a business mentor. The mentor will provide the essential support to help you relate the content of the workshops

4 to your own business context. They will help translate your learning into strategy and actions for your own business, enabling you to identify and work through individual issues that might otherwise be barriers to your growth. National Networking Events After completing the workshops, business owners on the full programme will have the opportunity come together in a series of national networking events. There will be the opportunity to hear key note speakers and take part in facilitated networking to discuss growth issues with other business owners from the programme. Cost For businesses allocated a voucher, the cost of the full programme is 4,000, 50% of which is covered by the Growth Voucher. You only pay 2,000. For those not allocated a voucher there is no cost involved. Voucher Allocation This Programme is a pioneering government research project and uses a Randomised Controlled Trial to allocate vouchers to a proportion of applicants. All applicants will attend an initial Growth Diagnostic Workshop, free of charge, after which some participants will go on to the full programme and receive a Growth Voucher equivalent to 2,000, which covers 50% of the cost of the full programme. Others will not receive a voucher. Whether or not you are allocated a voucher is a completely random process and is not related to your business or what happens at the workshop. Free Growth Diagnostic Workshop All eligible applicants will attend a free half day growth diagnostic workshop, designed to help you evaluate your business and its growth potential. You will meet other like-minded business owners, work with experienced faculty and business mentors, and leave the workshop with an action plan to help you unlock the growth potential of your business straight away.

5 Eligibility Criteria This programme is designed specifically to tackle the issues faced by owner managers of growing small businesses. You must be the owner of a small business that meets the following criteria: Must have between 1 and 19 Full Time Employees Must have a turnover of less than 3.2 million Must be registered in England (at Companies House, or registered with Her Majesties Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for VAT/PAYE) Must be independent (i.e. own 75% or more of the business) If part owned, collectively the companies in the group must have 49 employees or fewer and their turnover must not exceed 10m Must be able to demonstrate that the business has been actively selling goods and/or services for at least 12 months Must not have not applied for a Growth Voucher before, or use it alongside any other forms of public funding (i.e. they cannot be used in conjunction with European Regional Development Funds or other forms of public finance) Must have received less than Euro 200,000 of public support in the last three fiscal years (previous two fiscal and current fiscal year), or which is currently pending before applying for the Growth Voucher programme and satisfy the eligibility criteria for De Minimis aid Must not have already paid for any strategic business advice in the last three years (such as developing a financial, marketing or growth strategy, exploring how digital technologies can be used to improve productivity, and undertaking a skills audit). Must have an address If your business has received day-to-day advice from an accountant, book keeper, and solicitor or as a member of a business organisation on completing your annual business accounts, or understanding the legal/regulatory requirements of running your business, you would still be eligible for the programme.

6 How to apply Visit to access the online application. Alternatively you can contact us by phone on or us at Application Process The online application is a simple questionnaire to confirm your eligibility, followed by a form to register your business details and growth goals, and finally an opportunity to select your preferred location for the workshops. Key Dates Diagnostic Workshops: November & December 2014 Full Programme Workshops: December to March 2015 National Networking Events: April 2014 The Small Business Charter Growth Vouchers programme is a national programme being delivered by a consortium of universities led by Aston Business School.

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