Calling all SMEs: New Business Programme to boost economic recovery



A new government-backed education programme that is set to ‘turbocharge’ the UK’s economic recovery from covid-19 is being delivered by the Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University.

Help to Grow is a £520 million scheme offering tailored support to owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It includes Help to Grow: Management, a 12 week growth programme designed to equip business leaders with the skills needed to reach more customers, boost profits, and encourage employment. 

Heriot-Watt is one of only four business schools in Scotland delivering the Help to Grow: Management programme and will run three cohorts next year, the first of which starts on January 11.

Aimed at senior leaders of SMEs, the programme costs £7500 but participants will only pay £750 with the rest subsidised by the UK government. It includes 50-hours of in-depth training comprised of online seminars, face-to-face workshops delivered at the Edinburgh Business School, and tailored one-to-one mentoring. Upon completion of the course, participants will be equipped with a bespoke growth plan for their business as well as gain a range of new skills including in leadership, marketing, finance and innovation.

Executive Dean of the Edinburgh Business School, Professor Heather McGregor, said: “We’re delighted to be delivering the Help to Grow Management programme as it reflects our ethos of offering accessible business education.

“The fact that the programme is 90% subsidised by the Government gives SMEs the unique chance to access some of the best role models in the country through the mentoring element, a huge network of contacts and world class business education that will enable them to plan and achieve sustained business growth, for less than the price of a Mac Book.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, recently launched Help to Grow to encourage the growth of SMEs who have been hit by the economic impact of the pandemic.

He said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and prosperity across the United Kingdom.

“That’s why we are introducing Help to Grow, a scheme that will give them the tools they need to innovate, grow and help drive our economy from coronavirus.”

Over the next three years, the programme aims to attract 30,000 SME business leaders across the UK.

Applications for the first cohort must be submitted by January 1. To find out more or to apply for the programme visit


Craig McManamon