Skip to content

Ideas & Observations

Helping you to grow your business

Professor Hannah Hesselgreaves, from Newcastle Business School, explains more about the part-funded, practical management training programme for SMEs looking to drive post-pandemic growth 

“Running a small business can be tough, and at times it can feel very lonely at the top. Senior managers and business owners often cite the challenge of making time to work on the business, when they’re so busy delivering in the business day-to-day.

Help to Grow: Management is a programme which has been designed specifically to provide the space, support and skills needed to help SME leaders tackle the challenges and opportunities they face, particularly in a post-pandemic world.

Described as a ‘mini-MBA’ by a past participant, it’s a brilliant opportunity to hone leadership skills, drive innovation and put in place the plans to take your business to the next stage of development.

Delivered nationally by the UK’s leading business schools, in partnership with the Chartered Association of Business Schools (Chartered ABS) and 90% funded Government, SMEs in our region can access the programme via Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University.

Around 60 SMEs in the North East have already completed the 12-week management course with us. The programme is delivered online by a team of small business experts that we’ve handpicked to share their knowledge and expertise. The delivery team includes entrepreneurs, business leaders and respected academics – all of whom have significant commercial experience.

Help to Grow combines practical learning with personalised one-to-one support from a business mentor, who can offer tailored advice and insight. We also include peer-to-peer sessions in the schedule, which provides invaluable opportunities for participants to share their diverse knowledge and experiences.

The curriculum covers a wide range of subjects relevant to any sector and key to any SME looking to drive sustainable growth. Topics include: strategy and innovation; digital adoption; employee engagement; building a brand; efficient operations; and financial management.

But perhaps the most valuable aspect of the programme is the opportunity for participants to create their own actionable growth plan to take back and deliver within their business.

With 90% of costs subsidised by Government, as part of its commitment to support business recovery post-pandemic, employers pay just £750 of the £7,500 programme.”

We asked some of our most recent participants to share their own thoughts about the value of the programme to them and their business:


The next Help to Grow: Management cohort at Newcastle Business School starts on 22 March, with further cohorts planned in April and September 2022.

To find out more visit or to secure a place on the programme, visit and select Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University.

“I would encourage any SME leader to sign up for Help to Grow – it gives you that time and space to really think about key business decisions and future planning. Beforehand it was all just floating in my head, but the process of completing the programme has focussed my mind and structured the way that I’m going to move the business forward.”

Mark Melville, Director, Concept Accountancy