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Applications are now open in Northern Ireland for a new government-funded business management course being delivered by Ulster University Business School.

Launched at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, and with funding support from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will offer local small business leaders 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks. Participants will have one-to-one support from a business mentor, access to a network of like-minded business leaders and a bespoke growth plan to help their business reach its full potential.

The Chartered Association of Business School course is backed by £220 million of government funding, which covers 90% of the costs involved and leaves participants only having to cover a £750 charge.

Aimed at business owners and managers from small to medium sized enterprises (SME) across all business sectors, Help to Grow will help local businesses boost productivity and grow their companies in order to help create a higher wage economy.

The Ulster University Business School will be delivering the course across NI, which can only be delivered by business schools that have achieved the Small Business Charter accreditation, with the first cohort beginning on 7 September.

Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean, Ulster University Business School, said:

“Ulster University Business School is looking forward to welcoming the first Help to Grow participants from across Northern Ireland to its Ulster campuses in September. Northern Ireland is a small business economy with 98% of businesses falling into that category – indeed from an employment perspective, SMEs here employ more people than the public sector and larger businesses combined.

“This exciting programme will sit within the established and successful portfolio of applied programmes which we offer in support of SMEs across Ulster’s campuses. I’m grateful for the support and guidance of both Invest Northern Ireland and Department for the Economy as we developed our launch plans for this important programme.

“By the end of the programme participants will have developed a business growth plan with the support of dedicated mentors to help their businesses realise their full potential.”

UK Government Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:

“Seizing opportunity is what being a business leader is all about, and our Help to Grow: Management Course gives entrepreneurs the chance to access the very best advice on how to innovate, reach new customers and boost profits.

“The practical training scheme is 90% funded by the government and designed around busy business owners’ schedules, so I would encourage entrepreneurs across the UK to get involved and maximise the potential of their business.”

If you’d like to find out more about this course and to sign up, please visit: