A new online resource is helping small business leaders in Greater Manchester develop leadership and management skills to unlock their potential and grow their business.
Greater Manchester Leadership Hive is a free, easy-to-use resource for leaders of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that brings the best leadership and management development on offer in the region together in one place.
Delivered by GC Business Growth Hub and the world-class business schools at the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, and the University of Bolton, the Leadership Hive signposts SME leaders to the broad range of local and national support on offer, from executive development programmes and mentoring schemes to advice on sustainability and inclusivity.
The Leadership Hive gives business leaders access to programmes that can help them grow their profits, become more innovative, boost their resilience, and improve staff retention. Its design has been informed by feedback provided by businesses.
Often business leaders are unaware of the potential benefits of engaging with leadership and management development. The Leadership Hive aims to make the landscape easy to navigate, helping SMEs realise their potential and create a fairer, greener Greater Manchester economy.
Improving leadership and management among businesses was one of the recommendations of the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review, which helped inform the design of the city-region’s Local Industrial Strategy.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Alongside the four Greater Manchester business schools and GC Business Growth Hub and, we’re excited to launch the Greater Manchester Leadership Hive.
“We know better leadership can help improve profitability and increase growth. However, it can be hard for business leaders to understand what programmes are available or which is best for them, while others simply don’t have the time.
“The Greater Manchester Leadership Hive brings everything small business leaders need to run their business as effectively as possible together in one place. I’m proud that Greater Manchester is supporting its small business leaders as we look to bounce back after the pandemic.”
OPEN SME, a new short-course online learning platform, forms a central part of the Leadership Hive.
Launched earlier this month, the platform is designed and delivered by globally leading academics from Manchester Metropolitan University, with content developed in partnership with the University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School, the University of Bolton, and the University of Salford.
The modular programme is free to access and has been developed in response to feedback from Greater Manchester SMEs. It can be completed at any time and includes modules in four areas – digital, finance, people, and markets and models.
OPEN SME is the Leadership Hive’s flagship offering and is backed by £2m from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It sits alongside wider business support programmes, such as the Government’s national scheme, Help to Grow: Management.
Janine Smith, Director of Business Growth at GC Business Growth Hub, said: “Many SMEs have endured a tough couple of years, so it’s right we’re doing all we can to support them as we come out of the pandemic, alongside all the other challenges businesses are currently facing such as inflation, rising costs, and supply chain shortages.
“We’re excited to be working with Greater Manchester’s outstanding business schools to apply their knowledge and expertise to help SMEs, and in turn benefit the city-region’s wider economy. From mentoring and one-on-one support to technology transfer partnerships with universities, the Leadership Hive provides easy access to leadership and management support.
“Greater Manchester Leadership Hive offers small business leaders everything they need to lead their business as effectively as possible.”