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Strathclyde Business School

Building a programme for business growth in Scotland

By John Anderson - Posted on 27 February 2015

John Anderson, Director of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and former CEO of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, discusses how the newly launched Growth Advantage Programme came to life.

The Growth Advantage Programme was recently launched at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School - the first core growth programme for ambitious growth oriented entrepreneurs from a Scottish Business School.

Developed with the support of Santander Corporate & Commercial to complement their Breakthrough Programme, Growth Advantage is a specially-designed 10 month business acceleration programme that enables entrepreneurs and growth-focused business owners to gain the business insights, management skills and know-how necessary to achieve their organisation’s full growth potential and provides them with a unique opportunity to take a step back from the daily demands of scaling their business to develop a robust strategy for growth.

I have wanted to see a core growth programme for entrepreneurs scaling up their businesses in Scotland for a very long time, having seen examples of great learning and development opportunities elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Prompted by a challenge laid down by Richard Dixon at an Entrepreneurial Exchange board strategy day a couple of years ago - to find relevant structured learning to complement the great experiential peer learning available at Exchange events - I discovered that with the exception of the learning opportunities open to early stage innovation driven / technology entrepreneurs via the MIT EDP programme or perhaps via the Saltire Fellowship programme, there was nothing available to home based growth businesses. During the review, I did find Exchange members who had invested significantly in time and cash to go through the Cranfield Growth Programme and who simply said that they wished such a programme was available in Scotland. So what could be done?

Through my Advisory Board role at the UK Enterprise Research Centre I found other programmes in England which work extremely well - the Goldman Sachs 10,000 and the LEAD programme for example - but again these were not readily accessible to the business builder in Scotland. At the same time, the REAP Scotland work involving my colleague Jonathan Levie was looking at the area of skills for growth and reaching similar conclusions on the need for relevant programmes in Scotland.  In fact, Jonathan went as far as designing the outline of a growth programme which formed the basis of the new Growth Advantage Programme which, with the support and encouragement of Santander Breakthrough, has been designed by the amazing team at the Hunter Centre around the four fundamentals of entrepreneurial learning:

• Entrepreneurs and business owners learn best from other business leaders

• Entrepreneurs and business owners learn best by doing, through action learning

• Successful rapid-growth leaders develop a broad portfolio of frames for thinking about the world around them, the pathways ahead and for making informed yet creative decisions

• Entrepreneurial leaders learn best when they can immediately apply new skills, frames and knowledge to their own firms

My colleague Eleanor Shaw, Head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, commented: “At the Hunter Centre we are committed to turning useful learning into entrepreneurial action.  With one of the biggest teams of entrepreneurial specialists in the UK, our leadership position in Scotland was recognised by the award of the Small Business Charter last year making us the only Scottish Business School to be quadruple accredited.  The practical relevance of our work was reinforced in the recent Research Excellence Framework in which Strathclyde Business School was ranked as third in the UK for the impact of our research.   We are delighted that Santander Corporate & Commercial has chosen to partner with us to develop this pioneering new growth programme for ambitious entrepreneurs.  The combination of practical structured learning and peer support is very powerful and we look forward to helping Scotland's entrepreneurial leaders successfully scale up their businesses.”

What skills do you believe are most important for an entrepreneur to acquire in order to be successful? Share your comments below.

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If you would like to learn more about the Growth Advantage Programme and how it can help you achieve your ambitions, come and meet us at our preview events in Glasgow and Edinburgh. At each event you will learn more about how the programme works and hear an inspiring story from a successful growth company.
Join us in Edinburgh
Wednesday 4th March 10.30am – 12.30pm at the Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HS - featuring Nathan Pike, Director, Pike & Bambridge
Join us in Glasgow
Thursday 5th March 9.30am - 11.30am at the Technology and Innovation Centre, George Street, Glasgow - featuring William Mitchell, Design Director and Owner, 4c Design

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

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


Strathclyde Business School
University of Strathclyde
199 Cathedral Street
G4 0QU

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