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Help to Grow: Government Scheme

What is The ‘Help to Grow’ Scheme

The UK Government aims to help up to 130,000 SME businesses develop strategic skills and modernise their technology. What makes this scheme stand out, is the level of government subsidy that’s on offer.

This means:

  • 90% funding for expert management advice
  • 50% reduction in new software and service costs

So for any growing business, it’s well worth knowing what the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme is all about and how it could help boost your company in 2021.

What is ‘Help to Grow’?

Help to Grow is a UK Government programme that aims to modernise management techniques and technologies of small and medium-sized businesses. It was first announced in the Spring Budget 2021 and since then, more details have been emerging.

By providing expert advice and helping to modernise working tools, processes and systems, the scheme sets out to help business leaders reach new customers, boost profits and expand operations.

To achieve this, there’s a two-pronged approach with:

1. Help to Grow: Management
A 12-week practical management training programme

2. Help to Grow: Digital
Advice and financial support to improve software and systems

It’s a combination of management advice and technology investment that’s designed to help companies strengthen as the UK exits the pandemic restrictions.

How does ‘Help to Grow: Management’ work?

Help to Grow Management

Starting in June 2021 and running for three years, business leaders can access a 12-week programme that’s being run at leading business schools across the UK. Accredited by the Small Business Charter, the programme combines:

  • Eight online two-hour sessions
  • Four interactive case study workshops
  • One-to-one mentor support from a mentor
  • Peer networking
  • Access to the Alumni Programme

The programme aims to provide participants with a tailored business growth plan and is designed to be taken alongside full-time work. The modules covered include:

  • Strategy and innovation
  • Growing markets
  • Leading for high performance
  • Building vision and brand
  • Engaging and inspiring teams
  • Creating customer value
  • Adopting digital technology
  • Responsible business practices
  • Financial management

Some of the business experts providing advice and guidance include leaders from the CBI, NatWest and Goldman Sachs. Business schools across the UK are being used to provide local expertise and easy access.

You can find the full list of who’s on the Expert Advisory Council here.

Who’s eligible for ‘Help to Grow: Management’?

It’s open to any UK businesses that have been in operation for one year or more and have between five and 249 employees. Charity organisations are not eligible.

Those taking part should be significant decision-makers or members of the senior management team such as a CEO or FD. There are 30,000 places available over the three years of the programme.

How much does it cost?

The costs of the programme are 90% subsidised by the UK Government but participants are required to pay a £750 charge.

How does ‘Help to Grow: Digital’ work?

Help to Grow Digital

This is being launched in Autumn 2021 to provide free, impartial advice on how a business can improve performance through improved digital tools and services. Along with expert advice, vouchers will offer discounts of up to 50% and £5,000 saving on a list of approved software.

The aim is to:

  • Increase sales
  • Maximise online sales opportunities
  • Improve financial management and accounting

Further details are expected to be released over the summer. You can register to receive updates here.

Who’s eligible for ‘Help to Grow: Digital’?

It’s open to UK businesses of between five and 249 employees with the proviso that discounted software is being purchased for the first time.

What is the UK Government saying about ‘Help to Grow’?

The UK Government sees the ‘Help to Grow’ as a part of their commitment to ‘level up’ all areas of the UK and to help businesses recover from the disruption of the pandemic.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

Helping small businesses to learn from the best will be central to building back better from the pandemic. Our new A-Team of experts will ensure 30,000 small and medium-sized firms across the UK get the very best advice on how to innovate, reach new customers and boost profits so they can expand operations and create more job opportunities.”