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Central Bedfordshire Council said it is committing a further £600,000 to deliver additional business support programmes.

The programmes will be delivered by Cranfield University and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), to complement existing programmes funded through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

The wider business support programmes include:

1. Cranfield University to deliver five projects:

  • Business growth programme – to support managers/owners looking to take their business to the next stage
  • Essential management – a four-day course designed to provide managers of small and medium sized businesses with the skills required to become commercially focussed, confident members of the senior team. The course covers strategy, finance, marketing communications, leadership and management
  • Financial fundamentals – a one-day short course equips managers who have financial responsibilities with the key concepts and abilities required to manage finances at an SME level and covers the main aspects of finance management, such as financial decision-making, cash-flow, working capital, balance sheets, competitor accounts, marginal costing, elasticity of demand and pricing decision
  • Ready for Net Zero growth – an online 18-week growth programme targeting green growth through awareness of the relationship between climate change and emissions, and an understanding of how their organisation contributes to global warming. It will also provide methods, tools, technologies, and techniques to measure current emissions, set future science-based targets to reduce those emissions, and track progress over time
  • Net Zero top up – for SMEs who have previously attended the Business Growth Programme. Businesses who are on the Ready for Scale programme can receive an additional 6 weeks support in order to realise their net zero potential and take active steps to achieving it

2. SEMLEP to deliver two projects:

  • 12-hour mentoring and business support – targeted support for businesses to continue trading, adapt and diversity as well as prioritising job creation activity towards sectors, population groups and places disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and an Innovation and Recovery grant of up to £20,000
  • Intensive investment readiness support – a pilot programme to offer support to businesses who are looking to access finance and or raise investment

Executive member for corporate resources, Cllr David Shelvey, said:

“We are delighted to be able to extend our business support programmes with Cranfield University and SEMLEP to deliver innovative support to help businesses continue to develop and grow.”

The additional projects will be delivered from November 2021 to March 2022.