Businesses in Central Bedfordshire can now access a range of free programmes to help them grow and decarbonise their operations. The new scheme from Cranfield University and Central Bedfordshire Council is part of a £2 million package for the area funded by the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). Central Bedfordshire based businesses of any size, in both urban and rural areas, are eligible to apply for the support.

Businesses who access Cranfield University’s specialist training will benefit from the university’s strong expertise in business growth and entrepreneurship. The Business Growth Programme, Ready for Scale and Growth Curve masterclasses are part of the offering, alongside decarbonisation programmes such as Ready for Net Zero Growth and Climate Action Planning.

Cranfield’s specialist support helps businesses to step back from day-to-day tasks and focus on their ambitions and growth, creating a tailored strategy to success. This tactic is proven to drive growth, with research finding that companies grow around 30% faster if they create business plans.

Businesses attending the programmes will also be given the option to apply for a grant to support their business growth or decarbonisation goals.

Professor Stephanie Hussels, Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield University welcomed the new initiative: “Having worked with Central Bedfordshire Council before on a post-Covid recovery programme, I have seen first-hand how SMEs in the area benefit from our specialist support. I’m delighted we are working in partnership again to support local businesses to scale and grow and adapt to the increasing requirements to decarbonise their operations.”

Cllr Mary Walsh, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Planning and Development, said: “Businesses in Central Bedfordshire, including those in rural areas, have tremendous potential for growth. We’re in a key location nationally, and are already an attractive area for start-ups, growing businesses, and established industry. This new support, worth £2m will give a further boost to the local economy, attracting inward investment and creating jobs for local people.”

The council’s business website, BeCentral provides full information and updates about what the council is doing to support local businesses with UKSPF/REPF money.