Small businesses hit by the pandemic to access support through government partnership with Birmingham City University

Birmingham City University is working with the Small Business Charter to deliver a specialised government funded programme for leaders of small businesses to survive and thrive in the coming months and post coronavirus.

This new scheme forms part of a £20 million package provided by the government to help small businesses in the long term.

To aid business resilience and future growth in the current climate, the Small Business Leadership Programme will create peer groups to develop stronger leadership, innovation, operational efficiency, marketing and finance.

Birmingham City University’s Business School was accredited by the Small Business Charter, a national accreditation awarded by small businesses to business schools who excel in supporting small and medium enterprises, and the local economy.

Coronavirus has put untold pressure on directors and CEOs of small companies trying to navigate unchartered waters. According to a recent McKinsey online survey of UK SMEs, 80 percent of small businesses reported their revenues were declining in June in 2020.

The Government has made up to £30 billion available to support economic recovery ahead of the Autumn and businesses can continue to draw upon a range of financial support during this challenging time, including loans, tax deferrals and cash grants. The SBLP will help businesses to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus and prepare for any future disruption.

The practical syllabus provides business leaders with access to small business and management experts from Birmingham City University. The Small Business Leadership Programme is free and fully funded by the Government to enhance small business resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 and develop potential for future growth and productivity.

The short and focused programme will be delivered online through a structured course of eight 90-minute webinars over the course of 10 weeks and will provide the knowledge needed for businesses to tackle crisis situations. It will also give businesses the opportunity to strengthen their business network. Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance.

Anne Kiem, OBE, CEO of Chartered Association of Business Schools and Executive Director of the Small Business Charter said: “As we continue to grapple with the Coronavirus crisis it is also essential we look long term to ensure small businesses are supported to build resilience, survival and growth. Business schools can provide the expertise and knowledge all business owners and directors need to continue to thrive in uncertain times.”

Small Business Minister, Paul Scully said: “The strength of small businesses up and down the country will be vital as we begin to bounce back from coronavirus and re-build our economy. The Small Business Leadership Programme will help to equip small business leaders with the leadership and problem-solving skills they need to grow their firms in the wake of this pandemic.”

Professor Nassim Belbaly, Director of Birmingham City University’s Business School, said: “Local businesses are the lifeblood of any region’s economy and that is as true across the West Midlands, as anywhere else in the country.

“This scheme will allow us to deliver the tailored support organisations need right now to ensure they bounce back from the impact of COVID-19 and continue to deliver economic growth for the West Midlands.”

Mark Gilman, Professor of SME Growth and Development at Birmingham City University, said: “The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses, particularly SMEs, and it is vital that these organisations get the support they need to bounce back and making sure our region thrives beyond the pandemic.”