This six-month programme, as part of the Cumbria Growth Hub, is for owner-managers, MDs, and senior decision makers of SMEs with a growth aspiration. The programme has been specifically designed to give Cumbrian business leaders the space to re-focus their business model and develop strategic thought processes for growth, with support from a world-class university. 

What’s involved?

  • The programme begins with an Overnight Experiential (OE) which is a two-day (one-night) event held at a hotel in Cumbria. The OE features different management and leadership exercises, focused discussions, individual and group reflection, and introduces the peer-to-peer learning process which runs throughout the programme.
  • Over the following five months, you will take part in a series of interactive one day workshops which will cover topics such as: innovation, developing your business strategy, and business finance for growth.
  • Experience an access all areas company visit to a large regional business to learn best practice from their processes, strategy and experiences.
  • You will also have access to Masterclasses at Lancaster University Management School. Masterclasses provide the opportunity for you to learn from inspiring and engaging speakers. They are not intended to teach you — rather the idea is that they stimulate, inspire and challenge you to consider how the subject matter relates to you and your business.

 Over six months, you will be required to attend 1-2 day workshops per month. There are no formal assessments.


  • Each cohort brings together a trusted group of business leaders with different skills, knowledge and expertise, with one common goal - to grow their business. This trusted peer network becomes a valuable resource for gaining alternative insight and  challenging ideas
  • Use two proven business development tools to help you identify opportunities for growth. You will use the Development Plan Workbook – a tool to guide you through the functional elements of your business and help you to identify a focused action plan. You will also use the Business Model Canvas - a systematic review of the strategic vision of the business, to determine your path to growth
  • Learn from leading academics at Lancaster University Management School, which is typically ranked in the UK's top ten and among the world's top 100 business schools
  • Find a supportive space to spend time actively working on the business away from day-to-day distractions
  • Access to student consultancy projects - an opportunity for a group of MBA or undergraduate students to work on a specific area of the business

Next start date

February 2018


This is a fully-funded programme and is available to eligible European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) companies.

Businesses must meet the ERDF criteria as below:

  • Based in Cumbria
  • Employ fewer than 250 full-time employees
  • Has an annual turnover less than £40 million
  • Has received less than £160,000 of publicly funded support in the last 3 years
  • Is business to business

Learn More and Apply

We're always happy to talk about how the Cumbria Forum could benefit you. Please get in touch with us:

Speak to our Business Liaison Officer Pete Cornwall on 01524 510728

Email us with your query.