UK wide management campaign launched to curb small business failure

A national campaign to help small businesses access management and leadership support has been launched in a bid to curb the high failure rate of UK businesses and boost productivity.

The UK is home to 4.9 million small businesses. A 2012 BIS report* found that a lack of management skills is responsible for 56% of small business failures. According to research conducted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills**, just one in three (36%) of businesses with 5-24 employees have provided management training in the past 12 months. 

Growing Your Small Business, which sees a roadshow of 15 regional events across the UK during May and June, will bring together more than 700 small businesses with their local business schools, professional networks and Local Economic Partnerships. Each event features owners of high-growth businesses sharing their experiences, as well as speakers giving practical information on the support programmes for small businesses offered by business schools and the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) regional networks.     

The campaign has been created by CMI in partnership with the Chartered Association of Business Schools (Chartered ABS) and its Small Business Charter Initiative, and is being supported by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Supper Club.      

While there are over 600 different grant and support initiatives for SMEs, there is a low level of awareness and understanding among small businesses of what is on offer. Last June, CMI, Chartered ABS and QAA published a white paper, 21st Century Leaders, which reported that 68% of employers surveyed believe that business courses are too focused on the agenda of big business rather than preparing students for working in small businesses.  

Alongside Growing Your Small Business, the UK’s small businesses are also being supported by an employer group led by Serco, working with CMI and members of the Chartered Association of Business Schools. The group is developing a new Apprenticeship Degree in Chartered Management.  This will provide a new route for small businesses to develop professional managers, who can learn while earning and working.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, commented:

“Businesses that employ fewer than 50 people make up more than 99% of the UK’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.”

Growing Your Small Business builds on the work of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, which awards the Small Business Charter to business schools that excel in supporting small businesses and local economies.

Anne Kiem, Chief Executive of Chartered ABS, said:

“Business schools are full of world class business expertise and knowledge, and with a business school conveniently located in every region they are perfectly placed to support small businesses grow. Many small businesses already have a good relationship with their local business school and through this exercise we want even more businesses to understand the quality of support they have on their doorstep, and to support our business schools to even better understand what businesses need right now to help them grow,”

As part of Growing Your Small Business, CMI will be creating a detailed graphical heatmap providing a layered picture of small business performance alongside details of relevant management support provided by business schools in each UK region. The data, insights and best practice from all these events will feed into a report, which will be launched at events in the House of Commons, Holyrood, Welsh Assembly and Stormont in September 2015. 

Read more information on Growing Your Small Business

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Notes to editors: 

*Leadership and Management in the UK – The Key to Sustainable Growth, BIS, 2012

**Employer Skills Survey 2013, UKCES, 2014

Growing Your Small Business takes in the following regions and business schools:

  • East Midlands – Nottingham Trent University – 11 May
  • Eastern – Hertfordshire Business School – 13 May
  • London and South East – University College London – 18 May
  • North East, Yorkshire and Humberside – Leeds University Business School – 19 May
  • North West – Manchester Metropolitan University Business School – 26 May
  • Northern Ireland – Ulster University Business School – 27 May
  • Scotland – University of Strathclyde – 2 June
  • Scotland – Edinburgh Napier – 3 June
  • South West – University of the West of England – 8 June
  • Wales – University of South Wales, Cardiff – 9 June
  • Southern – Southampton Solent University – 16 June
  • London and South East – London College of Fashion – 24 June
  • West Midlands – Aston Business School – 25 June
  • Thames Valley – Oxford Brookes University Business School – 30 June
About Chartered Association of Business Schools:

The Chartered Association of Business Schools is the voice of the UK’s business and management education sector. We support our members to maintain world-class standards of teaching and research, and help shape policy and create opportunities through dialogue with business and government.

Our 150 members consist of 121 business schools and higher education providers, as well as affiliate stakeholders, corporate members and international partners. The UK’s business and management education sector represents 1 in 5 university students and contributes £3.25b to the UK economy. Its management students go on to lead global businesses and its entrepreneurs contribute to our dynamic economy. Its research has an impact across society and helps to turn our capacity for invention into viable businesses.

The Association awards the Small Business Charter to business schools in recognition for excellence in supporting SMEs, and creates a framework for business schools to provide small businesses with nationally recognised programmes of expert advice and training to help their business grow.

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