University of Sheffield awarded government funding to help microbusinesses use tech to grow

  • Sheffield University Management School to help the city’s smallest businesses to boost their productivity
  • Academics to host workshops to introduce microbusinesses to technology such as cloud-based computing
  • Businesses with up to nine employees employ over 4 million people and contribute £533 billion to the UK economy

Business meeting with technology

The University of Sheffield has been awarded government funding to support microbusinesses to engage with technology to boost their productivity.

Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) is part of a consortium of business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter for their expertise in supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs who will deliver the programme. The Leading to Grow Programme will be offered at no cost to microbusinesses across England.

Businesses that employ up to nine people will be able to apply to take part in workshops around how to utilise existing technologies to improve efficiency and profitability. They’ll be shown how technology such as cloud-based computing, web-based accounting software and computer aided design can help their businesses to grow.

The funding has been made available through the government’s £8 million Business Basics Programme run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Due to the small size and the dispersed nature of microbusinesses, they have not routinely received planned interventions by government agencies. The government is now targeting this type of business due to their potential and readiness to scale up, and this is the first time that such a programme has been coordinated across the country.

With so many areas being covered, it is hoped that this free programme will help a large number of microbusinesses and support economic growth in a number of regions.

The UK’s 1.1 million microbusinesses employ over 4 million people and contribute £533 billion to the UK economy. The business schools, the Small Business Charter and the government hope to make a real impact on this important part of the economy.

Professor Tim Vorley at the University of Sheffield said: “I am delighted that Sheffield University Management School is involved in this exciting initiative that is about enhancing the competitiveness and productivity of microbusinesses. The project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the Business Basics programme, is further evidence of the engagement and impact of SUMS on business.

“The project complements the work of the flagship Productivity Insights Network led by colleagues in the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development and portfolio of programmes delivered by the Executive and Professional Education team at SUMS.”

Anne Kiem, Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: “We are excited to be working with business schools to help improve the productivity of a range of microbusinesses. The pace of technological advances means that today’s small firms who embrace innovation will be tomorrow’s success stories.”

Additional information

The academics will host a series of workshops in February 2020 for businesses interested in being involved in the Leading to Grow Programme.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Sophie Armour
Media and PR Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 3687
07751 400 287
sophie.armour@sheffield.ac.uk