Universities have been awarded funding to support 50 microbusinesses to engage with technology to boost their productivity.
Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and the University of Leicester School of Business are part of a consortium of business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter for their expertise in supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs who will deliver the programme.
The Leading to Grow Programme will be offered at no cost to microbusinesses across England.
Businesses that employ up to nine people will be able to apply to take part in workshops around how to utilise existing technologies to improve efficiency and profitability.
The funding has been made available through the government’s £9m Business Basics Programme run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK.
Due to the small size and the dispersed nature of microbusinesses, they have not routinely received planned interventions by government agencies. The government is now targeting this type of business due to their potential and readiness to scale-up, and this is the first time that such a programme has been coordinated across the country.
With so many areas being covered it is hoped that this free programme will help a large number of microbusinesses and support economic growth in a number of regions.
The UK’s 1.1 million microbusinesses employ over 4 million people and contribute £533bn to the UK economy. The business schools, the Small Business Charter and the government hope to make a real impact on this important part of the economy.
Professor Paul Baines, Associate Dean for Business and Civic Engagement from the University of Leicester School of Business said: “Microbusinesses represent 82% of all employing businesses and employ 4.1m people nationally, so an improvement in productivity in this sector will have a very positive impact on the fortunes of UKPLC at this critical time. We are delighted to work with microbusinesses in the East Midlands to improve their productivity”
Professor David Rae, Director of Leicester Castle Business School’s Centre for Enterprise & Innovation, said: “The Leading to Grow programme will help microfirms in Leicester and across the East Midlands region to improve their competitiveness and resilience through applying new technologies. We look forward to working with local businesses and partners to achieve this.”
Anne Kiem, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: "We are excited to be working with business schools to help improve the productivity of a range of microbusinesses. The pace of technological advances means that today’s small firms who embrace innovation will be tomorrow’s success stories”