Cumbria Forum

Cumbria Forum

A six-month programme, as part of the Cumbria Growth Hub, designed for owner-managers, MDs, and senior decision makers of SMEs with a growth aspiration.

About the Programme

Develop your strategic thought processes and gain the skills to successfully describe, design, challenge and pivot your business models.

You'll begin with an overnight experiential, which is a two-day event made up of leadership exercises, focused discussions and peer-to-peer learning. Stepping outside of your workplace, you'll be encouraged to think about your business differently and reflect on your current practices. This experience is designed to develop trust amongst the participants, breaking down the barriers to learning and providing opportunities to connect your new knowledge to real-life situations.

Next Programme Start: November 2019

Discover our testimonials.

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Programme Elements

The Cumbria Forum programme includes sessions each month, taking place over 1-2 days. You'll participate in a range of challenges, workshops and tasks to develop strategic thought processes and skills, and the focus on practical learning means there are no formal assessments.


An overnight experiential to build trust and start the challenge.


Access to Masterclasses from world-class speakers such as Jonathan Warburton, Edwin Booth and John Timpson.


Interactive workshops including Developing dynamic business models, Innovation and Branding, and Business Finance for Growth.


A company visit, with access all areas within a large regional business


Learn from leading academics at Lancaster University Management School and business experts. 


Introduce a fresh perspective with our student projects.

Get in touch

To discover more about the Cumbria Forum, and how it could transform your organisation, please complete our enquiry form and we'll be in touch shortly.

The Benefits

The programme fully integrates into your business, so you will spend time actively working on your business not in it. The peer network provides the support and the University provides the challenge to your thinking and ways of working. The programme will provide you with the tools to develop a strategic approach to your business and ultimately generate the growth you need.

Amy Scott, Director at Cyclewise, explains why the Cumbria Forum was right for the business and how the programme supported their growth plans.

Cumbria Forum helps financial planning business FMB to plan for its own future

Roger Jackson, Financial Planner and manager at Financial Management Bureau (FMB), discusses how engaging with Lancaster University Management School and participating in the Cumbria Forum has enabled the company to develop a strategy for future growth.

FMB is a family-run business that has been providing independent financial advice since 1987. The Kendal-based firm focuses mostly on financial planning for individuals, with some corporate work as well. As Roger Jackson puts it: “it’s about making sure their finances are efficiently aligned with their medium and longer term goals.”

With a need to preserve its distinctive heritage whilst also moving with the times, FMB was ideally placed to benefit from the Cumbria Forum, a business growth programme delivered by Lancaster University Management School.

“It has helped us to innovate and develop new offerings,” Roger explains. “Such as a lower cost, more streamlined service that’s designed to appeal to clients of the future. What really prompted this in my mind was the ‘Four Ways to Grow Your Business’ session. By pulling our ideas into those boxes and breaking it down, we’ve been able to identify how to respond to changing demographics by getting people into the right mindset: ready to transition from the more streamlined route to full financial planning in the future.”

“The Forum appealed to me straight away because I was aware of the University’s prowess, especially the Management School, which is ranked very highly. There were a couple of people involved who I respected even before I started – like Gerry Johnson, a leading academic in strategic management – and I knew it would be useful just to try to absorb information and knowledge.”

“We have a very close relationship with the Management School,” Roger adds. “We have worked with them on student projects and one of our directors is now an Entrepreneur-in-Residence there. Our MD, who is currently on the Innovation Development Programme, was already familiar with the Cumbria Forum and she thought that because of my dual role it would be good for me.”

It didn’t take long for Roger to appreciate that his fellow delegates were facing similar challenges in their businesses and this helped to foster an invaluable sense of empathy. “It enabled me to understand a lot about other businesses, to share experiences with other managers and to see what they were doing to operate in changing markets.”

If the Cumbria Forum has had a lasting impact on FMB, it has also cemented its links with the Management School and the wider peer network. “I’ve personally referred friends and business associates,” Roger says. “I keep in touch with the other delegates from my cohort and we’ve forged new relationships throughout.”

The Cumbria Forum is a business growth programme, part of the Cumbria Business Growth Hub, and delivered by Lancaster University Management School. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and available to ERDF eligible businesses.

Financial Management Bureau
Business people

"This programme is a fantastic opportunity for growth orientated small and mid-sized companies in Cumbria, helping them grow skills and confidence in equal measure. " Helen Wilkinson, Programme Manager

Costs & Apply

This programme is fully funded, and available to European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) eligible businesses. 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

To apply, please get in touch with us.

 

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