Teesside University is leading the search for a new generation of leaders to drive transformational change across the region – for just £750.

The university’s International Business School, which is accredited by the Government’s Small Business Charter, is recruiting senior SME leaders for a 12-week programme to fully equip them for the new North East and all its innovations and challenges.

The Help to Grow: Management course is delivered with support from entrepreneurs and industry experts and is 90% government-funded. It covers strategies for growth and innovation, engaging with customers, building a sustainable and agile business, operations, and financial planning.

The mix of one session per week for 12 weeks with some online and some in-person means it should fit most busy diaries.

Programme Director Suzanne Hague told us she wanted the course to have a long-lasting impact.

The Northern Echo: Suzanne HagueSuzanne Hague (Image: Teesside University)


“After 50 hours of being advised and supported by our experts, you and your mentor will have developed a Growth Action Plan tailored to helping you grow your business in our region,” she suid.

“To make sure we can use as much experience as possible over the 12 weeks, there will be exclusive access to a forum of peers who will share experiences and help our leaders learn first-hand from real-world challenges. But we don’t want that to stop when the course stops, so we also operate a Help to Grow: Management Alumni Network to make sure our leaders retain access to that expert advice as their business grows.

“We’ve got the experience here to know that this level of assembled knowledge can make a real difference to the whole region, which is changing so rapidly and growing in so many directions. We want our businesses to develop leadership and management skills so they can play a pivotal role here.”

Among the key goals of the course for the latest cohort at Teesside University are:

  • Help you recognise what drives productivity and growth in your market and understand what this means for your business.
  • Learn how to advance responsible business practices, including how you create an inclusive workplace and greener workplace practices.
  • Understand how to innovate your business model, including how to adopt and invest in new and digital technologies.
  • Identify key domestic and export markets for your business and develop strategies for market segmentation, positioning and targeting.
  • Develop strategies to improve operational efficiency, saving time and money.

The criteria for acceptance on the course will fit thousands of businesses across the region: You have to be a small or medium sized enterprise employing 5 - 249 people. Your organisation also needs to have been operational for at least a year, and you will be the chief executive, owner/founder, or member of the senior management team with at least one person reporting to you directly.

It certainly worked for Simon Baker, owner of Baker Street Kitchen in Middlesbrough. He told us:

“I booked my place on the course because I wanted to find new ways to grow and develop the business, especially looking at Baker Street Kitchen and how we could expand that further into a multi-site business.

“It’s been really useful, with everybody alongside me gaining something different. Personally I’ve gained the knowledge that I need to be able to step back from the business and look at it from a more strategic perspective. As a leader, you can’t always be firefighting - you need to be able to look at the elements covered by the course, strategising, growth opportunities, vision and values.

“To anyone considering the Help To Grow course at Teesside, I would say go for it - it’s really opened my eyes.”

Terry Owens, one of the people helping guide this next generation of leaders said: “A lot of the effectiveness is from the interaction with people. It’s the discussion and working together that seems to make a difference.”

  • The next course starts in March. To sign up, just CLICK HERE