Programme to help put Cumbrian SMEs on the path to growth

Business people in a workshop

24 February 2014

Growth-hungry Cumbrian businesses are to get a helping hand from a specially designed programme which launches next month.

Deeply-rooted in research by academics at Lancaster University Management School, the Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria programme will help 50 ambitious SMEs in the county, boosting the local economy and helping to create jobs.

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.

Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria is designed to support companies by providing a trusted peer-to-peer network and activities to stimulate self-development and business growth.

These include providing opportunities for owner-managers and senior managers to engage with experts at a leading university and other like-minded businesses, providing a supportive and trusted environment to work on business growth.

The programme starts on 11 March with a two-day overnight experiential at The Swan, in Newby Bridge.

Highlights of the programme include:

  • A masterclass and workshop delivered by famous yachtsman Pete Goss MBE

  • A development plan workbook – a tangible tool to put plans into action

  • Action learning to use as a platform to unpick any barriers to growth

  • Company visits to two exemplar growth companies in Cumbria

  • A growth workshop looking at 10 practical issues affecting growth

  • Practical sessions on financing growth and student resource at Lancaster University

  • Access to masterclasses at Lancaster University including Ex dragon Rachel Elnaugh, Chris Bonington and sports coach Frank Dick

  • Reflection and signposting

, Lancaster University Management School programme manager for Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria, said: “This programme, which draws on rigorous academic research, should prove to be of significant benefit to the companies enrolled, and create wider growth and jobs to drive forward Cumbria’s economy.

“There is still a chance for businesses to get involved and take advantage of this excellent-value package that has received significant backing through European funding through the Cumbria Business Growth Hub & Rural Growth Network.”

The programme, which costs £750 for eligible businesses, is recruiting for its first cohort of businesses. This is made possible through the European Regional Development Fund.

Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria is open to B2B Cumbrian SMEs employing fewer than 250 people and with a turnover of less than £40m.

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

Alternatively, you can contact us direct at LUMS on 01254 510723 or email