COVID-19 hit businesses set to benefit from University of Leicester's business expertise

Small and medium businesses affected by COVID-19 in Leicester are to benefit from the expertise of one of the Midlands’ top business schools, as part of a £20million government package to help small businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19 in the long term.

The University of Leicester’s School of Business (ULSB) has been accredited to run the Small Business Leadership Programme, a ten-week Government funded programme led by academics and experts to help support small businesses post coronavirus and support SME leaders in the coming months.

The announcement follows the University of Leicester’s Vice-Chancellor Nishan Canagarajah’s promise to emerge from the pandemic "as a community and as Citizens of Change", at the launch of its Economic and Social Impact Report, in June earlier this year.

Paul Scully, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “The strength of small businesses up and down the country will be vital as we begin to bounce back from coronavirus and re-build our economy.

“The Small Business Leadership Programme will help to equip small business leaders with the leadership and problem-solving skills they need to grow their firms in the wake of this pandemic.”

Professor Paul Baines, Associate Dean for Business & Civic Engagement at the University of Leicester’s School of Business said: “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on small and medium sized businesses across the UK. By taking part in this programme, businesses have the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of our top-ranking business school to enhance their resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 and develop potential for future growth and productivity.

“The University of Leicester has a long history of working to support regional economic development so we are delighted to be part of this government-funded national initiative to help small and medium sized businesses during these difficult times.”

Delivered online through a structured course of eight 90-minute webinars run by the School of Business, the programme will provide the knowledge needed for businesses to tackle crisis situations and the opportunity to strengthen their networks.

Participants will also develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance.

The University of Leicester’s School of Business has been accredited by the Small Business Charter - a national accreditation awarded by the Chartered Association of Business Schools (to Universities with a track record of supporting small businesses, student enterprise and the local economy.

Coronavirus has put untold pressure on directors and CEOs of small companies. According to a recent McKinsey online survey of UK SMEs, 80 per cent of small businesses reported their revenues were declining in June 2020.

The Government has made up to £30 billion available to support economic recovery and businesses can continue to draw upon a range of financial support during this challenging time, including loans, tax deferrals and cash grants. The Small Business Leadership Programme will help businesses to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus and prepare for any future disruption.