Aston Programme for small business growth

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Supporting your business to reach new heights

Take your early stage business to the next level by joining the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth. Develop your leadership skills and build a targeted growth strategy for your own business in the company of other ambitious business leaders.

Aston Business School is among 1% of business schools worldwide with triple accreditation, and since 2014 has also held the Small Business Charter reflecting its expertise in SME engagement. As part of the Business School, Aston Centre for Growth develops and runs leadership and management programmes dedicated to support the growth of SMEs, leads investment ready pitching competitions and provides start-up and incubation support to student businesses. The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is free of charge and offers: 

  • Workshops taught by experts in SME leadership and management 
  • One-to-one support to help you tackle your business issues 
  • Networking with other early stage business owners from the Midlands 
  • SME case studies from business leaders talking about their growth journey
  • Guidance through the various external finance options available to you 
  • Opportunity to pitch your growth strategy to external finance experts 
  • Time to explore the strategic growth opportunities for your business. 


The core of the programme is a series of nine one-day workshops taking place over six months which cover topics relevant to leaders of growing SMEs including: 

  • Strategy and business models 
  • Opportunities and innovation 
  • Managing business finances and options for external finance 
  • Leadership, culture and people 
  • Marketing strategies 
  • Operations and processes

Workshops will predominantly be delivered in central Birmingham with at least  one being delivered in the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire regions.


  • SMEs must have an operational address within one or more of the following LEP regions: Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull. 
  • Your business needs to have been trading for 12 months or more and have at least one FTE employee (the programme is not suitable for start-ups)
  •  This programme is suitable for businesses that are in their early stage with identifiable growth potential. Businesses from any sector will benefit, including social enterprises. Please note: Agriculture and retail sectors are not eligible for this programme due to funding restrictions.
  • The applicant should be the founder or CEO of the business, and should be the person who is responsible for driving the growth strategy of the business.
  • Your business needs to be an SME as defined by HMRC and meet the De Minimis State Aid criteria – received no more than 200,000 euros State Aid in the last 36 months.
  •  Participants need to make a significant commitment of time and effort to engage with the opportunities provided and are required to attend all workshops. Dates for the workshops can be found at

To Apply:

The programme runs approximately every six months from January 2017 until 2019. please visit the following website for the next application and workshop dates, the first event being the introduction to your network.

please visit or phone the programme  team on 0121 204 3225. 

Application is by application form which is available by:  

Downloading it from Emailing:  Or calling the programme team 0121 204 322

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