Four companies founded by Cranfield School of Management’s Business Growth Programme (BGP) alumni have been shortlisted for this year’s National Business Awards.

The quartet of finalists - Go Ape, Livity, Ashley Community & Housing, and Novacroft – have been chosen from hundreds of entries across 18 categories, with the winners revealed at an awards ceremony in London on 10 November. The Awards, whose main sponsors are Lloyds Bank, are endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Dr Shai Vyakarnam, Director of the Bethany Centre for Entrepreneurship which runs the Cranfield programme, said: “The programme allows business owners to take a deep dive into their operations, markets, teams, profitability and future direction. As a result of the BGP, which is mainly practitioner driven, SMEs come out with what has repeatedly proved to be hugely successful growth strategies, improving profits (often) by over 50%, employment and top-line sales growth.

Go Ape are finalists in The Customer Focus Award category and Paul Lymer, Head of Marketing, said: “The Go Ape Tribe are really excited to be shortlisted for this prestigious award. Our success has grown from providing our customers with unique experiences that encourage them to live life adventurously. It would be amazing that all our Tribe get recognised for their hard work.”“We are very proud to see our alumni on the shortlists and we understand the recognition that entering awards can bring SME businesses. It can be hard to find the time and be confident enough to put yourself and your business forward. The rewards can be worth it, however, with a raised profile within your industry sector and among the public, the recognition of your peers – and hopefully a nice trophy for your office!”

Sam Conniff and Michelle Clothier (Livity) and Fuad Mahamed (Ashley Community & Housing) are both finalists in The Social Enterprise of the Year category, while Debra Charles (Novacroft) is a finalist for The Smith & Williamson Entrepreneur of the Year.

Fellow BGP alumni Martyn Curley and Stephen Oldbury from worked with a number of businesses to provide support on their entries for these prestigious national awards.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.