Healthcare giant signs up to business growth scheme 

Global healthcare giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has joined Captured, a programme in which experienced professionals from large organisations help small companies grow and develop their business.

Run by Newcastle University Business School, the scheme has received the backing of some of the region’s largest companies including tech specialist Sage, engineering giant Siemens and automotive component supplier Calsonic Kansei.

GSK is the latest heavyweight to sign up and three of its most experienced staff are assisting a host of North East small firms.

Quality director Simon Forsyth is currently supporting Elizabeth Scott, the owner manager of Durham-based counselling and life coaching specialist Rainbows End Coaching. As well as receiving regular, ongoing advice from Simon, Elizabeth has also been on site at GSK to learn about the company’s processes and discover how they could be applied to her coaching.

Meanwhile, Wear Valley Recruitment is benefiting from the advice of GSK’s HR business lead Polly Lerner, who has helped the Bishop Auckland-based company conduct a thorough SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business. Polly has also assisted Wear Valley in its attempts to review and refine its business strategy for the next three years.

The third GSK staff member to get involved in Captured is technical director Brendan Fish, who is supporting Jo Long as she seeks to develop and grow her consultancy firm. Barnard Castle-based Jo Long Consulting offers a personalised mentoring service for women who have returned to their corporate roles following time out to raise a family or recover from an illness. Brendan is helping Jo to hone and refine her business strategy and find a way of juggling workloads with her busy family life so that she can achieve that perfect work-life balance.

While GSK has been instrumental in the development of these small firms, it is also reaping the benefits of being involved in Captured.

Polly Lerner said: “The programme has given us the chance to get out of the daily routine and think and reflect, both on the efficacy of GSK’s business processes and on the skills and experience gained through working in a different environment. There are significant advantages in learning how small businesses work and behave and then seeing how these traits can be applied back in our workplace.”

Captured gives small firms the opportunity to spend time developing their business with hands-on support from experienced managers from larger private sector organisations. It was launched after Newcastle University Business School secured funding from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) to pilot the project in the North East.

Dr Fiona Whitehurst, Captured project lead at Newcastle University Business School, said: “Captured acts as a catalyst for small business owners to develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The idea behind the programme is to give small firms the tools and confidence to develop new, profitable ways of growing their business. This will enable them to create jobs and wealth for the local economy.”

Captured is open to firms with fewer than 20 employees and aims to address the particular issues faced by small businesses at critical points in their development. 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.

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