Greater Manchester business schools to help SMEs bounce back from the pandemic

Categories: Salford Business School

New partnership will deliver a free, 24/7 programme to help at least 400 SMEs in the region

A new collaboration between business schools in Greater Manchester will support SMEs in the region to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open SME is an exciting free and on-demand online learning programme for SME leaders that aims to provide the tools needed to grow their businesses beyond the pandemic.

The programme, which is funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), is the result of a collaborative partnership between Salford Business School,  MMU Business School, Alliance Manchester Business School, the Institute of Management, Bolton, and the Business Growth Hub.

Open SME is an online portal, allowing business owners and managers to work their way through bite-size modules in the areas of finance, digital and markets and models at their own pace.  The programme, which will involve self-directed learning by business owners, aims to help at least 400 SMEs increase productivity, profitability, resilience, and sustainability.

The scheme will particularly target those under-represented boroughs in Greater Manchester, outside of the city centre, removing any potential geographical barriers to attendance and provide a fully inclusive offering. It will also establish 250 longer-term mentoring relationships.

Open SME sits within the brand-new Greater Manchester Leadership Hive, a GM resource for SME leaders.

Dr Francine Morris, Associate Dean for Enterprise and Engagement at Salford Business School, said: “Working in collaboration with our neighbouring business schools, the Growth Company and GMCA,  to support SMEs in Greater Manchester has been really rewarding.

“The group’s research found that many business owners were unaware of the benefits of engaging with leadership and management training. This easy to access digital solution is the perfect way for SMEs to begin that journey and engage with all the support on offer at the business schools and the Growth Company, as they start to unlock future economic prosperity in the city region”

Dr Janice Allan, Dean of Salford Business School welcomed the programme as “an inspiring example of collaborative working between different organisations to improve the local economy and business environment. As such, it aligns well with the ambitions of the Greater Manchester Civic University Board.”

Joanne Roney, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Lead Chief Executive for Economy and Business, said: “The launch of Open SME is fantastic news for SMEs in Greater Manchester.

“The programme takes the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists in our world-class business schools and makes it available to the wider business community. Open SME is free of charge and easy to access, with modules completed at a pace to suit you.

“SMEs will help drive Greater Manchester’s economic recovery from the pandemic, so it’s vital that we find creative and effective ways to support them. Our Economic Vision for Greater Manchester includes help for small businesses to grow, wherever they are based, so that we can build a greener, fairer, more prosperous city-region. We encourage all business leaders who could benefit from Open SME to get in touch to learn more.”

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.