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Supporting medium-sized businesses

Participants at a workshop run by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development

Participants at a workshop run by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development

13 February 2013

In response to the findings from a recent Task Force report on business school engagement with medium-sized businesses, the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development reports on how they have developed research and programmes tailored to meet MSB needs.

Over the past 12 months, LUMS Dean, Professor Sue Cox, has chaired the Business School Task Force which was formed to advise government on how UK business schools can support economic growth through strengthening their engagement with medium-sized businesses (MSBs).‌

Set up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Task Force's report was published in November 2012 and is a call to action for business schools, MSBs, government and the wider business community.

The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) has conducted research into the UK MSB population. This provided the Task Force with further evidence on the abundance and distribution of medium-sized companies across the UK. It also enhanced IEED's knowledge of the demographics of the entire small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.

The report has identified a need for deeper levels of engagement between business schools and businesses employing between 50 and 500 employees. IEED has a decade-long track record of impactful support to SMEs. This is epitomised by a suite of leadership and management development programmes which includes LEAD, a non-executive board simulation called GOLD, and Top Team, which is aimed at senior managers working inside growth-oriented businesses.

Each of these programmes deploys IEED’s integrated learning model with specific developmental goals. These programmes already attract some substantial medium-sized business owner-managers and managers, and the underpinning framework is suitable for bespoke programmes for MSBs.

Furthermore, many client businesses enrolled on these programmes have developed business plans that will see them expand organically or by acquisition into the MSB category.

Future developments

IEED is developing a portfolio of research projects which focus on the needs of MSBs. Topics include how entrepreneurial capital and supporting skills can be developed and cascaded within MSB management teams, governance structures suitable to support MSB growth, and the role of family business dynamics within MSBs.

These projects will be undertaken in collaboration with participating businesses, in order to validate and test findings in live MSB scenarios, and to maximise speed of uptake across our programmes and client base. Owners of MSBs are represented among our guild of entrepreneurs in residence, and we are committed to using these close contacts to better understand the specific needs of such businesses in order to refine our programmes to better suit their requirements.

Times Higher Education THE Award

The recent award of the Times Higher Education Business School of the Year Award to the Management School recognised, amongst other things, the rigour and impact of IEED's business support work.

The IEED is committed to leveraging that expertise to the benefit of MSB clients, and we welcome approaches from any interested owners or managers who would like to discuss ways to collaborate with us.

Recruitment to the LEAD, GOLD and Top Team programmes will start in spring and summer for a September start. Anyone interested should contact IEED's Business Liaison Officer on 01524 510728.