Business programme to help put 75 Cumbrian SMEs on the path to growth


20 April 2016

Ambitious Cumbrian businesses are encouraged to seize a competitive edge by joining a specially designed programme launching this summer.

Deeply-rooted in research by academics at Lancaster University Management School - one of the leading Management schools in the UK – the Cumbria Forum programme will help around 75 ambitious SMEs in the county, boosting the local economy and helping to create jobs. A similar programme ran in Lancashire recently supported 93 companies and led to the creation of 55 jobs with businesses seeing their turnover increase by almost £2 million.

Forming part of the range of business support services provided through Cumbria Business Growth Hub & Rural Growth Network, the innovative six-month programme draws upon key elements of Lancaster University’s research into how entrepreneurs learn and grow.

Cumbria Forum is designed to support companies by providing a trusted peer-to-peer network and activities to stimulate self-development and business growth, as well as running a master-class programme with high-profile inspirational speakers – such as Sarah Dunning, Chief Executive from Westmorland, Andrew Graham, CEO from Graham and Brown plus futurist Michael Ryan from Fusion Futures.

The programme provides a space for owner-managers of Cumbria SMEs to step away from their businesses and develop themselves in a supportive environment with help from peers as well as experts from Small Business Charter Gold Award-winning Lancaster University Management School.

Additional expertise will be brought in to provide help with finance and getting access to grants. Participating companies will also discover how they can tap into additional resources, such as graduate consultants and internships.

Helen Atherton, Lancaster University Management School Programme Manager for Cumbria Forum, said: “This programme, which draws on rigorous academic research at our leading management school, should offer significant benefits to participating companies, and create wider growth and jobs to boost Cumbria’s economy.

We would encourage small and medium sized companies from all sectors of the Cumbrian economy to get involved and take advantage of this excellent programme.

The programme, which is fully funded for eligible businesses, is currently recruiting for its first cohort of businesses, which starts on 29th June 2016. This is made possible through the European Regional Development Fund.

Cumbria Forum is eligible to B2B Cumbrian SMEs employing fewer than 250 people and with a turnover of less than £40million.

There is the opportunity to meet the Cumbria Forum team at 10am on the 20th April at Castle Green, Kendal. The event also includes a Masterclass with Edwin Booth, Executive Chairman of Booths, followed by a networking lunch. To register for this event please contact Jen Melling on 01524 510769.

To find out more about this programme, you can contact Pete Cornwall, Business Liaison Officer at Lancaster University Management School, direct on 01524 510728 or email

Cumbrian businesses can find out more about the business support available to them by calling 0844 257 8450, emailing or by visiting

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