Help to Grow: Management course

Rebecca Padgett with Help to Grow July 2023 cohort

Get involved with the government-backed Help to Grow: Management course and you will learn lessons that have an immediate impact. Aimed at senior leaders in small and medium businesses it includes 50 hours of in-depth training, 1:1 business coaching, and the opportunity to grow your business, fast. The 12-week programme is 90% funded by the government so you only pay £750. Equip your business today with tools and strategies to bolster your resilience.

Find start dates

What is Help to Grow?

Help to Grow is a 12 week programme delivered by Leeds University Business School and accredited by the Small Business Charter. The programme combines a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business coach, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network.

Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, this programme will support you to develop your strategic skills with key modules covering financial management, innovation and digital adoption. By the end of the programme, you will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead your business to its full potential. You will hear from inspirational business leaders and learn alongside local peers, with access to a national alumni network. 

Who can take part?

Aimed at senior leaders in small and medium businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than 1 year, with between 5 to 249 employees are eligible. If your business employs more than 10 people, you can send up to two people on the course.

What is the cost?

The programme is 90% funded by the government – which means you pay only £750 per person.

Participant feedback

Caroline Wherritt, Founder and CEO of Re:Work, completed Help to Grow in March 2022 and would ‘absolutely’ recommend it to other small-business leaders in the region. 

Read about Caroline’s experience of taking part in Help To Grow

Steve Brooke, Managing Director of Anglo Stainless, completed Help to Grow in July 2022 and would ‘recommend to any business owner’.

Read about Steve’s experience of taking part in Help To Grow

Watch our video

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The programme takes 12 weeks to complete and consists of one session per week delivered through a mixture of half-day in-person sessions and 2-hour online webinars (7 online and 5 in-person).

Participants are assigned a coach who will offer up to 8 hours of 1:1 business coaching, plus the opportunity to attend peer learning sessions following each webinar (7 one hour sessions across 12 weeks).

What are the benefits to me?

  • Enhance your management and strategic capabilities
  • Produce a growth plan for your business
  • Build resilience to future shocks
  • Learn how to innovate in your business
  • Adopt digital technologies to boost productivity and operational agility
  • Develop your value proposition and reach into growth markets
  • Improve employee engagement and responsible business practices
  • A blended programme that combines interactive, online sessions with face-to-face learning to suit you
  • Future-proof your business

Course Overview

Part 1 - Strategies for Growth and Innovation

This focuses on what your business does and how you want it to develop in the future. We look at your business’s strengths and core capabilities, your opportunities, and your current and potential markets, as well as how innovation, digital adoption and new market penetration can be key drivers of productivity and growth.


Module 1 - Strategy and Innovation

Content covered will include:

  • Understanding innovation and its relationship to growth, profitability and productivity.
  • Reviewing your business model and value proposition in relation to current and future market opportunities.
  • Understanding how business model innovation can help you respond to, and recover from, challenges.
  • Finding out about the UK’s innovation ecosystem.


Module 2 - Digital Transformation

Content covered will include:

  • Understanding the benefits of digital adoption for SMEs in innovating business models and seizing opportunities.
  • Considering what stage your business has reached on the path to digital adoption from digitisation to digital transformation, and identifying priority development areas.
  • Understanding the role of digital leadership and considering digital enablers to achieve a transformational culture.
  • Being alert to the risks of a digitised environment and ways to mitigate that risk.


Module 3 - Winning New Markets

Content covered will include:

Taking an in-depth look at how a business has:

  • Innovated its model.
  • Developed markets overseas.
  • Explored models to address opportunities in different countries.
  • Adapted their business model and overcame challenges.
  • How the experience encouraged them to innovate.

Part 2 - Engaging with Customers

This part focuses on why you do what you do, how you connect with your customers and how you effectively convey your values and purpose in your brand. We look at building demand, segmenting your markets, and achieving a targeted and strategic approach to marketing.


Module 4 - Vision, Mission and Values

Content covered will include:

  • Understanding the strategic value of vision, purpose and brand, their link to the customer value proposition and role in achieving competitive advantage.
  • Exploring vision, mission and values statements and planning an approach for reviewing these in your business.
  • Defining brand components and how they add value to your business and customers.
  • Understanding the role of your business’s vision, values and brand in organisational culture and employee engagement.


Module 5 - Developing a Marketing Strategy

Content covered will include:

  • Further developing your customer value proposition and your business’s approach to marketing.
  • Understanding market segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP) within your business’s competitive environment.
  • Considering the stages in the buyer decision-making processes.
  • Starting to consider the benefits of database marketing.


Module 6 - Building a Brand Case Study

Content covered will include:

  • Exploring how a business built a market-leading brand and continued to serve its customers’ needs through changing times. What challenges had to be overcome and how did the company stay true to its purpose and values.

Part 3 - Building a Sustainable and Agile Business

This part focuses on creating a suitable organisational structure to deliver your goals, and adopting good practice in the leadership and management of teams. We look at leading people through change and supporting the wellbeing of staff, as well as developing your people and introducing agile ways of working.


Module 7 - Organisation Design

Content covered will include:

  • Identifying growth phases and when and how it will be necessary to evolve the shape of the organisation to implement growth.
  • Considering SME examples of different structures and ways of working and the implications for your workforce.
  • Jointly with others in your business, reviewing skills, roles and training to ensure the required expertise is available to deliver the growth plan.
  • Considering structures and processes to facilitate agile working.


Module 8 - Employment Engagement and Leading Change

Content covered will include:

  • Identifying appropriate strategies for leading change in an inclusive and engaging way.
  • Planning to implement approaches that enhance employee engagement.
  • Recognising the impact of your own leadership approach as a key enabler for growth.
  • Being able to utilise tools and resources collaboratively to lead your team towards strategic goals.


Module 9 - High Performance Workplace Study

Content covered will include:

  • Exploring an example of a company that has put employee engagement at the heart of their business and created an inclusive culture. The tools and ways of working are innovative and productive, and the business has achieved growth through the way it works as much as through what it does.

Part 4 - Operations and Financial Strategies

This part focuses on what happens in the business to create outputs, how you monitor progress and use information to inform decision-making. We look at a strategic approach to operations, financial management and options to finance growth, and how everything comes together in the implementation of your Growth Action Plan.


Module 10 - Effective Operations

Content covered will include:

  • Recognising the role of operations in the value chain.
  • Understanding the type of operations in your business.
  • Identifying opportunities to improve operations management.
  • Reflecting on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Module 11 - Finance and Financial Management

Content covered will include:

  • Using financial data to make informed decisions about future operations including identifying relevant financial metrics for monitoring growth and productivity.
  • Understanding the importance of cash flow forecasting in managing crisis and recovery.
  • Considering options for financing growth both internally and from external sources, and being aware of where to source information and advice.


Module 12 - Implementing Growth Plans Case Study

Content covered will include:

  • Developing priorities and a timeline for implementation, using your Growth Action Plan.
  • Identifying the resources required to achieve the objectives in your Growth Action Plan.
  • Embedding key management practices critical to growth and productivity in your business.


Meet some of our mentors

Gary Lumby, Help to Grow mentorGary Lumby MBE, Managing Director, Focus on Success Ltd
Gary was UK Director in charge of SME Banking at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks until 2012 and then set up his own management consultancy business, Focus on Success Ltd. through which he works with SMEs across the UK as their Non-Executive Director. In addition, Gary works as a Growth Expert on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme and owns Denovo Properties (NE) Ltd, SE Directors Ltd and Omkara Beauty. LinkedIn Profile

“Gary was an excellent and experienced mentor, with clear and tailored guidance to help get the most out of the Help to Grow programme and the Growth Plan. Gary’s advice helped shape my Growth Plan for a new product launch and its subsequent implementation in the months after the course.”
Chloe Barker, Head of Commercial at Coltraco Ultrasonics

Jo Smith, Help to grow mentor

Jo Smith, Founder and MD, The Goalgetter Organisation Ltd
Jo has more than 20 years of experience at Company Director level, including as HR Director for Arla Foods, Europe’s largest dairy company. Jo has worked with founders and directors of SMEs for the last 15 years including growing a start up to a £100m turnover, global business. Her experience encompasses all sizes of business and many different sectors. Jo’s Organisation, Goalgetter.

“Jo brings both compassion and wisdom whilst sharing incredible insights and practical advice from her extensive experience.”
Jaclyn Goddard, Director at Psst! Marketing


Paul Slater, Help to Grow mentor

Paul Slater, Managing Director, The Change Shed Ltd
Paul specialises in helping organisations to innovate, transform and grow to become more valuable, enjoyable and future-proof. He supports his clients to implement practical growth strategies that focus on improving their overall business system. Paul has successfully coached leaders on programmes including HTG, PAPI, PwC Scale and Peer Networks. LinkedIn Profile.

“Paul was great, he was a fantastic ear and provided some solid advice based on the growth path for our business. We talked through a number of tricky issues during the course and Paul always had an answer or a question that focused us on finding a solution.” 
Sam Raife, Managing Director at Brand Ambition


Steve Baker. Help to grow mentorSteve Baker, Director, Baker & Co Accountants
Steve is an Electronic Engineer who worked for BAE Systems in a variety of roles. After completing a sponsored MBA he founded a software company that was listed in the Sunday Times top 100 companies for three consecutive years. He also served in the Army Reserve reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Commanded a Regiment in Yorkshire. LinkedIn Profile.

Anchor“Steve is an excellent mentor. He has a wealth of personal experience having owned and worked with many different businesses. With his experience from the military, he can offer practical advice as well as helping to identify challenges and business growth opportunities.” 
Sarah Hambly, Finance Manager at Primeast


Apply online

The following courses run by Leeds University Business School are now open for applications. New dates are added throughout the year.

Register for course starting on Monday 15th April 2024 (Leeds)

Click here to register for Cohort 20

Seven online sessions, and five face to face sessions at the University of Leeds, City Centre Campus.

  • Module 1 - Strategy and Innovation (face to face)
    Monday 15th April 2024‚Äč, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • Module 2 - Digital Transformation (online)
    Monday 22nd April 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 3 - Winning New Markets - Case Study (face to face)
    Wednesday 1st May 2024, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • Module 4 - Vision, Mission and Values (online)
    Tuesday 7th May 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 5 - Developing a Marketing Strategy (online)
    Monday 13th May 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 6 - Building a Brand Case Study (face to face)
    Wednesday 22nd May 2024, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • Module 7 - Organisational Design (online)
    Wednesday 29th May 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 8 - Employee Engagement and Leading Change (online)
    Monday 3rd June 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 9 - High Performance Workplace - Case Study (face to face)
    Wednesday 12th June 2024, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • Module 10 - Efficient Operations (online)
    Monday 17th June 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 11 - Finance and Financial Management (online)
    Monday 24th June 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Module 12 - Implementing Growth Plans - Case Study (face to face)
    Wednesday 3rd July 2024, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Future dates

We look forward to announcing future dates for the Help to Grow programme shortly, to register your interest and find out more please email

Help To Grow Bursary

Leeds University Business School is committed to supporting the social enterprise network across the Yorkshire region and will be offering one fully funded bursary place on each cohort of the Help to Grow Management Programme to a local social enterprise. 

If you are interested in making an application for a bursary place on this programme please complete this form and a member of the team will be in touch soon. Read one of our Case Studies here from Dawn O’Keefe at SHINE

There are a very limited number of bursary places available and we will not be able to accommodate all eligible applications. The final decision whether or not to grant a bursary will be made by representatives of the Centre for Professional and Executive Education.

Contact the team

Improve your business’s resilience by signing up to Help to Grow today.

If you would like more information then you can contact our dedicated team by emailing

Leeds University Business School Coaching for Growth Scheme

Leeds University Business School offers one-to-one Growth Coaching for small business owners & leaders who are registered on our SME focused programmes, such as the Help to Grow Programme, the SME Future Leaders programme and others. We also provide coaching as a separate offer at a reduced commercial rate to SME business owners and their staff.  

Leeds University Business School has a long standing history of supporting SME businesses, offering a range of programmes including an element of coaching for businesses looking to grow.  We have found embedding coaching into programmes benefits business owners and small business leaders in several ways by supporting you individually and helping your business.  Coaching will give you the tools to take your business to the next level.  In a supported environment, your thinking and business practice will be challenged, your Coach will provide you with an alternative business perspective and will help to grow your confidence in you and your business.  We will provide you with structured practical coaching to enable your business grow.

For further details of Help to Grow and Coaching, please contact