Do you own a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) or lead a team in an SME, but struggle to find the time to speak to other senior leaders or business owners in a similar position? If this is you, then the Help to Grow: Management Course, delivered by Sheffield Business School, can help. unLTD found out more about the 90% government funded course…

When you’re leading an SME — juggling the demands of the job while taking ultimate responsibility for the business — it can make all the difference to be able to speak to peers and experts in the field.

That’s why a new network of SME leaders is proving popular in our region. It was developed as part of the Help to Grow: Management Course at Sheffield Business School, which has provided leadership training for over 90 SME leaders in the past year, from a range of diverse sectors including construction, engineering, professional services and hospitality.

SME leaders on the course find that, despite coming from different sectors, many of the challenges and opportunities faced by SMEs are the same.

And they have particularly enjoyed building a network with other SME leaders — sharing experiences, bouncing ideas around, and generally supporting each other.

Help to grow

What is Help to Grow: Management?

Help to Grow: Management is delivered by Sheffield Business School, which is accredited by the Small Business Charter. Delivered by development consultants and business experts, it’s a practical course that includes online and face-to-face sessions alongside peer support and one-to-one mentoring.

It’s 90% funded by the government, and has been designed to allow SME leaders to complete it alongside full-time work.

As a small business leader, you develop your strategic skills to increase your business’s long-term productivity, resilience and capacity to innovate. You’ll also develop a bespoke growth action plan for your organisation, to help achieve your long-term vision and strategic goals.

At the end of the course you automatically join a growing alumni network with over 90 SME leaders from almost 30 different sectors who have completed the Help to Grow: Management Course.

The benefits of networking

SME leaders who take part in the course often say the networking and mentoring elements are the most beneficial. You join a national network of alumni from the course, as well as building connections with local SMEs in your region.

You are given a named point of contact at Sheffield Hallam, who can provide any further support your business may require, whether it’s further funded programmes, student or academic support, or research opportunities.

As part of the network, you’re also invited to local events shaped by the issues and themes SME leaders are facing. For example, last September Matt Phelan, co-founder at the Happiness Index, delivered a talk on the value of employee wellbeing for sustained growth.

The benefits of the course and being part of the network can be seen by the national statistics. Over 90% of SME leaders surveyed said they would recommend the programme to another business leader, and over 90% were satisfied with how the programme was delivered.*

As well as all the events and resources available, you also meet like-minded SME leaders who can support you and share ideas as you grow your business.

Help to grow
Zoë Loveday, managing director of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Zoë Loveday is the managing director of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens. She completed the course and joined the Alumni Network in 2022. Here’s what she said about it.

“A key element of the course was meeting other business leaders. Impostor syndrome is widespread in business, and it can hold people back from being confident in their decisions. Women especially have to challenge the assumptions made against them.

“So it was really valuable to be able to share experiences with a peer group and gain support from each other. The mentor programme was incredible, and I’ve stayed in touch with my mentor since the course.

“I have made several friends and lucrative network links. As a business we are keen to promote and support other independent businesses, and create an atmosphere of synergy and cohesiveness in the local community.”

Want to meet other local business leaders? If you’re a senior leader in an SME employing 5 to 249 people, find out how you can sign up for Help to Grow: Management.

It’s 90% funded by the government, and 94% of attendees say it helped clarify their leadership style to support growth in their business.*

And you’ll automatically join their Alumni Network, gaining the peer support our members value so much.

Go to