Cranfield University and leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP have launched a Third Sector Bursary Image: Cranfield University

Cranfield School of Management and Central Bedfordshire Council have announced that they are working together to create a scholarship programme to support the growth of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The funding provided by the Council means up to 90 SME businesses will be able to apply for scholarships places on Cranfield’s business growth courses Ready For Scale and the Business Growth Programme.

Contributing 47 per cent of revenue to the UK economy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a key role in boosting productivity – but need support to expand business and increase impact.

The Economic and Social Research Council policy statement includes:

The overall entrepreneurial ecosystem needs to be nurtured to encourage greater growth ambition among SMEs. This could be supported through the establishment of public-private partnerships delivering high-quality SME business support.

The role of national and local government is crucial in supporting and encouraging SMEs.

Cranfield’s Business Growth Programme is the UK’s longest running programme for owner-managers looking to take their business to the next stage, helping them to create the future they want for the business and for themselves.

Ready For Scale supports micro and small enterprises to develop the skills to help their business to take the leap on its growth trajectory and to transform their businesses.

Businesses can apply for these fully funded scholarship places by visiting Cranfield School of Management.

Councillor Kevin Collins, executive member for planning and regeneration, said:

“Despite restrictions easing, we are still living through the Covid-19 pandemic and Central Bedfordshire Council’s Economic Strategy acknowledges those challenges and the need to support businesses and individuals most affected.

“To this end, we are continuing to deliver relevant support to our businesses by engaging with our intermediaries. We are delighted to offer this opportunity to our businesses via Cranfield University to support them to realise their full potential through the well renowned Business Growth and Ready for Scale programmes.

“I encourage businesses to engage and apply for the scholarship support to ensure their place on the programmes.”