Midland businesses top of the class

Graduation dinner marks achievements of entrepreneurs.

30 businesses across the Midlands have celebrated completing the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth – a programme specifically designed to support owner-managed companies plan for future growth.

On Tuesday 7th July, a graduation dinner was held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens which celebrated the achievements of the 30 businesses who successfully completed the four-month programme.

Presented by the Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, Mark Hart, each individual received a crystal award and a certificate of completion.

Professor Mark Hart, said: “We are proud to welcome these successful businesses into the Aston community. They have all made such a difference to the workplace and the region’s economy and we are delighted to have supported them in their journey.

“We can already see the positive impact the programme has made for the participants. Between them, the participant businesses are predicting a fantastic 100% increase in turnover over the next three years. We are positive the skills they have learnt during the programme will allow them to continue to grow their businesses in a sustainable way.”

The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is one of a number of successful business growth programmes run at Aston Business School. The new programme was delivered by leading practitioners and faculty members from Aston Business School.

Participant Nicola Lathbury, owner and managing director of Hexagon FM in Sutton Coldfield, said: “The programme has given me a wonderful gift of knowledge, business practice and confidence so I can lead my business and team and create more jobs. We are already well on the way to implementing some of the skills and strategies we have learnt.”

Participant Lewis Reeves, owner of Lewis’s Deli & Eatery in Moseley, commented: “Lots of people in my position have the mind-set of a small fish in a big pond, of being “just” a small business. The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth has helped me to see beyond that, and cement the values of the business. I really believe I’m now more likely to achieve my goals thanks to the support of the programme.”

Running from February–June 2015, participants attended a series of workshops which covered a range of topics including marketing, innovation, leadership, HR, operations management and finance. They also had access to one-to-one support from a business mentor, developed a plan for growth for their business, and had the opportunity to network with like-minded business owners.

Participating businesses and social enterprises came from across the Midlands, including Birmingham, Worcester, Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Warwickshire, Coventry, Shrewsbury and Shropshire, and ranged from software developers to recruitment consultancies, manufacturers to architects.

Aston has experience of working with hundreds of SMEs to support their business growth on high profile programmes, including the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth, part-funded by the ERDF. As one of only three business schools nationally to hold Small Business Charter Gold status, it should be the first port of call for Midlands SMEs looking to grow their business. For further information visit www.aston.co.uk/centreforgrowth