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Strathclyde Business School

Gaining a business advantage with GAP

By John Anderson - Posted on 6 October 2016

Head of SME Engagement at Strathclyde Business School, John Anderson, reports on the progress so far of the Growth Advantage Programme offered by the Business School, which aims to help business owners scale up their business.

The participants on the 2016 Growth Advantage Programme (GAP) have completed the first stage in their GAP journey - Orientation.

The 10-month programme is unique in Scotland and has been developed by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School, in partnership with Santander.

When we launched the first GAP in 2015 we were able to provide an opportunity for business owners in Scotland to combine relevant structured learning with peer learning – for the first time. We wanted to help owners take a step back from the daily demands of their business to focus on the best tactics for growing it.

Designed for managing directors or chief executives of businesses turning over at least £1 million and experiencing significant year-on-year growth, GAP is structured around five intensive sessions, comprising a one-day orientation session followed by four two-day workshops dedicated to the advantages which high growth firms are known to possess: market, operations, resource and leadership. Each workshop consists of a set of individual experiential sessions, in each of which participants learn how to use a different practical application of research on growing businesses, and gain inspiration from their peers and includes a dinner with a ‘Pinnacles of Growth’ speech from a successful entrepreneur.

The substantial impact of GAP 2015 - average annualised growth in employment and sales across the cohort exceeding the OECD high growth threshold of 20% - was credited by participants having greater clarity of the business, sharpening their value proposition, extracting more value from current operations, focusing on core values, measuring activities and changes in structures and people. The benefits of the programme were realised not simply in terms of business performance but also by the impact on the participants themselves who cited having greater confidence, more energy, more growth orientation and growing networks as a result of taking part. This demonstrable impact was recognised by the award of a Gold Small Business Charter mark, making Strathclyde Business School one of only five UK business schools to hold the UK’s top accreditation and the only one in Scotland.

The GAP 2015 cohort continues to support each other as they grow their businesses and they are still taking advantage of the many opportunities for additional support available from Strathclyde.

The participants on GAP 2016 come from all over Scotland and represent a wide range of sectors, with a majority focused on product and service innovation and more than half already operating internationally. They start the programme with an average turnover approaching £2 million and employing around 20 people on average and all participants have expressed an ambition to scale their businesses, demonstrating the importance of these companies to their communities and to the economy of Scotland.

The make-up of the cohort matches the work of the Hunter Centre in promoting entrepreneurship as the growth and scaling of businesses - whether started from scratch, inherited or bought - and we are all looking forward to working together for the next 10 months.

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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University of Strathclyde
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