Cranfield School of Management and Central Bedfordshire Council are delighted to announce that they are working together by creating an innovative scholarship programme to support the growth of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Thanks to the provision of funding provided by Central Bedfordshire Council up to 90 businesses will be able to apply for scholarship places on Cranfield’s leading business growth courses Ready for Scale and the highly regarded Business Growth Programme.

Contributing 47 per cent of revenue to the UK economy, SMEs have a key role in boosting productivity but need support to expand business and increase impact.  The Economic and Social Research Council policy statement includes:

“The overall entrepreneurial ecosystem needs to be nurtured to encourage greater growth ambition among SMEs. This could be supported through the establishment of public-private partnerships delivering high-quality SME business support.

The role of national and local government is crucial in supporting and encouraging SMEs.”

Cranfield’s Business Growth Programme (“BGP”) is the UK’s longest running programme for owner-managers looking to take their business to the next stage, helping them to create the future they want for the business and themselves.

Ready for Scale supports micro and small enterprises to develop the skills to help their business to take the leap on its growth trajectory and to transform their businesses.

The closing date for applications to the BGP Scholarship is midday on Friday 27 August 2021, applications for Ready for Scale will close later in the year.

Councillor Kevin Collins, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration said:

“Despite restrictions easing, we are still living through the Covid-19 pandemic and Central Bedfordshire Council’s Economic Strategy acknowledges those challenges and the need to support businesses and individuals most affected.

To this end, we are continuing to deliver relevant support to our businesses by engaging with our intermediaries. We are delighted to offer this opportunity to our businesses via Cranfield University to support them to realise their full potential through the well renowned Business Growth and Ready for Scale programmes.

I encourage businesses to engage and apply for the scholarship support to ensure their place on the programmes.”

Dr Stephanie Hussels, Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, said:

“The role small businesses play is critical to the UK economy, and we have some fantastic examples in Central Bedfordshire. We are looking forward to supporting them develop, grow and realise their ambitions.”

“Our business growth programmes are centred entirely on the reality of small and medium businesses, their current challenges, their opportunities, their future goals and ambitions. Because of this, the journey and the way the learnings are applied, as well as the benefits gained are unique to each business.”

Councillor David Shelvey, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Corporate Resources said:

“Thanks to the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) for wider business Support, we are delighted to be able to offer these funded scholarships to relevant businesses to realise their full ambitions and further add to the local economy.

Companies who are awarded either of these Programmes with Cranfield University will no doubt find them both beneficial and enhance their business performance and enable faster growth.”