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Kingston University's longstanding success in developing entrepreneurial skills and in facilitating start-up businesses forms part of our commitment to supporting and nurturing a thriving SME community. Kingston Business School (KBS) supports the SME community through a range of initiatives, one of which is the work undertaken with Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) in the development and delivery of business support programmes.
In 2019, KBS delivered the 'Business Basics' programme covering business fundamentals, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and accredited by the Small Business Charter.
The programme supported small business owners at a critical time when the Covid-19 lockdown started. KBS worked with business owners to reduce the perceived constraints to survival and growth and increase their efficiency and productivity. The course covered topics such as the role of digital and new technologies in business, cost and benefit analysis of strategic decisions during Covid, methods of maximising resources acquisition to increase productivity and performance, and encouraging innovation and improving employee engagement. 33 start-up businesses were supported successfully through the course to completion.
Leading on from the Business Basics programmes, KBS, along with the Small Business Charter and 19 other business schools developed and delivered 'The Small Business Leadership Programme', a specialist programme for leaders of small businesses to survive and thrive during and post Covid-19, also funded by BEIS.
The short and focused programme was delivered online over the course of 10 weeks and was a combination of workshop, mentoring and facilitated group-work. It allowed the businesses the opportunity to strengthen their business network and consisted of a curriculum exploring leadership, innovation, employee engagement, operational efficiency, marketing, sustainable practices and finance. Kingston Business School ran 12 cohorts over a period of five months, directly supporting 294 business leaders and senior management team members from around 260 companies.
From August 2021, as part of the next round of government-funded support for SMEs, KBS has been successfully delivering the Help to Grow Management Programmes. This course is a 12-week training, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning programme with an emphasis on developing a growth plan for the participating businesses and their leadership. The programme content has been developed by the participating CABS business schools in partnership with industry, and helps build capabilities in leadership, innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business and financial management.