Applications open for Aston Business School’s free premier business support programme

Limited spaces are available on a fully funded business support programme for businesses trading in Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry & Warwickshire LEP areas.

Aston Programme for Small Business Growth are helping businesses position for the COVID-19-influenced market by providing a series of webinars taught by experts in SME leadership and management.

Participants will also benefit from one-to-one support from an experienced business mentor as a part of the programme in order to help create a clear action plan for the future.

Business leaders on the programme from across Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry & Warwickshire will have the opportunity to build networks, as well as have the chance to pitch their action plan to external business and finance experts.

The programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is delivered by Aston Centre for Growth alongside a range of support offered by Aston University to SMEs focused on survival, resilience, sustainability and growth.

A 2019 industry-standard programme evaluation based on business’s experiences after completing the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth revealed:

  • A turnover increase by an average of 38% one year after completing the programme
  • 94% of business leaders became more confident in growing their business
  • 79% of participants improved their ability to use financial data more in decision making

Business leaders of early-stage SMEs have until September 11th, 2020 to apply for cohort seven of the programme which begins on October 7th.

Current programme participant Sandra Burns, Centric HR, begun to experience the benefits of Aston Programme for Small Business Growth after less than four months of being on the programme.

She said: “I’m delighted to report that we are on track to hit our annual turnover target of £400k – up from £130k from last year!

“Just listening to my programme mentor, Tim, and bouncing ideas around with him has enabled me to grow my confidence, provide assurance that I’m on the right lines and to take action – especially in relation to finances and cash flow.

Manny Athwal, School of Coding, completed the programme in 2019, as part of Aston Programme for Small Business Growth’s fifth cohort.

He said: “Implementing learnings from the programme has resulted in our business turnover increasing by 380% in less than a year.

“My vision has always been to grow School of Coding into an international corporation. In order to do that, I needed to increase my own knowledge and understanding on how to develop the business.

“The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth programme was the perfect option to get high-quality leadership and management education from an outstanding institution and share ideas with like-minded business leaders.”

Fellow past participant Laura Barrett, The Malted Waffle Company, praised the programme for its expert guidance in marketing and operations.

She said: “The programme had such a variety of sections which appealed to so many of the areas of growth I needed support for with in my business.

“We are now working with more strategic suppliers, increasing our efficiencies to reduce costs and boosting sales thanks to the skills learnt on the course.

“Even though I have now completed the programme, the support continues.”

Contact Aston Centre for Growth on 0121 204 3225 or by email at to determine eligibility and apply.