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Wednesday 8 July 2015

Solent supports small businesses

Due to the high failure rate of UK businesses, small businesses in the South East are being offered access to management and leadership support as part of a national campaign to boost productivity.

There are 338,605 small businesses in the South East alone and according to the governments Office of National Statistics, only 52.1% of these businesses survived between 2009-2013*.

Georgina Andrews, Director of the School of Business and Law, at a Small Business Charter event last year.

In a survey by UKCES it was found that only 61% of regional managers  had received training in the last year**.

On Tuesday 16 June 2015, more than 70 small businesses attended the Growing Your Small Business event here at Southampton Solent University (read about the growth voucher workshops held previously). A range of business owners and managers were given the chance to hear Deborah Leary OBE, CCMI and CEO of Forensic Pathways Limited share her experience of leading a high-growth business.

There was also the chance to gain practical information from speakers about support programmes which are offered by local business schools and the Chartered Management Institutes (CMI) regional networks.

This was the last stop in a national roadshow across 12 UK regions aimed at bringing together small business with local business schools, professional networks and local economic partnerships.

CMI in partnership with the Charters Association of Business Schools (Chartered ABS) and its Small Business Charter Initiative created this campaign, which was also supported by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Supper Club.

Even though there are over 600 differ grant and support initiatives available for small businesses, there is a low level of awareness and understanding about what’s on offer to help these businesses succeed.

In June 2014 together the CMI, Chartered ABS and the QAA published a white paper called ’21st Century Leaders’ which reported that 68% of surveyed employers believed that business courses focussed on the agenda of big businesses rather than preparing students for working in a small business.

UK small businesses are also being supported by Serco, an employer group who are working with CMI and Chartered ABS. Together the group are creating a new apprenticeship degree in chartered management. This degree will help to provide a new route for small businesses to develop professional managers who can still learn whilst they’re working.

Simon Bowen, director of membership engagement, Chartered Management Institute, commented:

“Businesses that employ fewer than 50 people make up more than 98% of the South East’s private sector. Growing these businesses is essential to boosting the productivity of the UK economy. We’re showing small businesses how this can be done, simply by raising their management and leadership capabilities. This is something every business can do.”

Professor Mike Wilkinson, deputy vice-chancellor (external engagement), Southampton Solent University commented:

“We were delighted to host the Growing Your Small Business event. We support the growth and development of small businesses in the South East. Now more than ever, there is a need for us to focus on our very vibrant small business sector and this event was a perfect way for us to begin to explore the practical steps that we can take to help our small businesses grow and prospect.”

Deborah Leary OBE CCMI, CEO, Forensic Pathways commented:

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the South East’s economy. Many businesses will try and achieve success on their own. We want them to know there’s plenty of support to help them develop their management and leadership to ensure they thrive.”

CMI will create a detailed graphical heatmap as part of Growing Your Small Business this will provide a layered picture of small business performance and alongside will have details of relevant support offered by business schools in each UK region. From this the data, insights and examples of best practice from these events will be collated into a report and launched at events in the House of Commons, Holyrood, Welsh Assembly and Stormont in September 2015.

For more information on Growing Your Small Business

*Business Demography – 2013, ONS, 2014
**Employer Skills Survey 2013, UKCES, 2014