Captured was launched earlier this year as one of 32 projects in the UK Futures Programme, an £8.8 million co-investment programme between public and private sectors to address skills and productivity problems and make improvements to how businesses are run. Captured aims to help small firms develop the personal and business skills needed for business growth with hands-on support from larger regional organisations.
Run by Newcastle University Business School, the scheme has so far assisted more than 40 small firms and received the backing of some of the region’s largest companies including tech specialist Sage, engineering firm Siemens and pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline.
Initially piloted in Tyneside, phase one of Captured came to an end in July but is now recruiting for new participants from this month (November) after it secured additional funding from the Business School and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).
In the next phase of the programme, the aim is to help a further 48 small firms develop and grow their business with support from experienced professionals from larger organisations.
Dr Fiona Whitehurst, Captured project lead at Newcastle University Business School, said: “In the initial pilot phase, it was clear that both small firms and the larger regional organisations saw benefits from the Captured approach. As a result, we’re delighted to be able to extend the programme to other micro and small businesses who are keen to explore ways of developing their business. Eighteen larger regional organisations participated in phase one and we are keen to recruit more.”
The North East LEP said the scheme was a great way of improving skills and boosting business growth in the region.
Colin Bell, director of business growth at the North East LEP, said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting an initiative that clearly has had a positive impact on the North East business community. This type of scheme is essential if we want to grow our economy and enable the region’s army of small firms to prosper.”
Captured is open to any firm with fewer than 20 employees and a commitment to develop their business. After an initial workshop with other small firms, in which aims and expectations are mapped out, the small firm works with an experienced manager from a large organisation to identify opportunities, challenges and barriers to business growth.
As well as helping small firms, Captured is also designed to benefit larger organisations by giving them the chance to learn from the way in which small firms operate.
Graham Hartley, MD at Siemens Power Generation and chair of the Captured Steering Group, said: “Captured encourages experienced managers to come out of their comfort zone and gain valuable experience of working in a different environment. The learning that is brought back to the workplace is extremely valuable.
“Overall Captured showcases the advantage of small and large firms working together for the benefit of each other and I am delighted that the Business School and the North East LEP are collaborating to ensure that the programme continues.”