Cambridge Judge Business School is determined to support SMEs in developing their management capabilities through the SME Growth Challenge; a programme designed to help SMEs develop their organisation’s managerial skills, setting them up to grow.

The programme is made up of a series of six bi-monthly workshops which provide access to the latest management thinking, facilitate the sharing of insights about commonly experienced challenges and a range of possible solutions. These will be augmented by regular company visits from dedicated Cambridge Judge Business School faculty members.

Programme objectives

The SME Growth Challenge programme is designed to help CEOs and senior managers:

  • Develop and implement a growth plan for your business that will significantly accelerate the growth of your company
  • Better understand the role of your leadership team in accelerating growth
  • Be able to define and articulate your business’s value proposition
  • Design a business model capable of sustaining growth
  • Develop a ‘go-to-market’ strategy for your products and services
  • Address’unique’ company-specific challenges
  • Gain exposure to peer CEOs and their businesses to challenge your own performance against these benchmarks
  • Establish a network of contacts for both business and personal development purposes.

Programme structure

The programme will begin with an on-site diagnostic visit by a member of the School’s faculty. This faculty member will support you throughout your journey and provide a point of contact within the School.

The topics addressed at each of the six one-day workshops will be informed by the needs identified during the diagnostic phase of the Growth Challenge. They are likely to include:

  • Defining your current business model
  • Value innovation and shaping your value proposition
  • Marketing strategy and tactics
  • Understanding the competitive landscape
  • Developing your leadership team
  • Financing your firm

A key component of the programme will involve collaborative problem-solving and learning from the experiences of other participants. In doing so, CEOs will build the management capabilities of their organisations. These results rest on the condition that the CEOs commit to attending the workshops and seeing their action plans through.

Ideal criteria

  • SMEs with annual sales of £1 million up to £50 million
  • Strong growth in a combination of sales, profit and/or employee numbers
  • Demonstrable track record of sustainable underlying operating profitability
  • Cash generative businesses
  • Entrepreneurial, ambitious, talented and broad management team – committed and incentivised

The 2016/17 SME Growth Challenge programme starts in September 2016. 

The deadline for applications is Monday 1 August 2016.

Selection and interviews with companies will be done on a rolling basis . Following selection, a member of faculty will visit the companies to discuss and assess their needs.

Further information can be found here.

A series of workshops will take place from September to June. If you and your team are interested in participating, please complete the online application form