Matthew Neville

Podcast aimed at supporting SMEs celebrates one-year anniversary at the Baltic

Northumbria University brought together key influencers within North East business, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its ‘Why Small Business Matters’ podcast, by filming a real time episode at the Baltic.

Sitting on the panel and in front of a live audience were participants from Northumbria’s Help to Grow Management programme, Nick Downing, Phil Robinson-Artley and Kelly Maxwell.

The trio posed questions to leading figures from SME growth partners, Elaine Stroud, CEO, Entrepreneurs Forum and Reshma Begum, Federation of Small Business (FSB) development manager for the North East of England.

The podcast was chaired by Caroline Theobald CBE, chair of the advisory board to Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University and director, North East Initiative on Business Ethics (NIBE).

The panel discussed a plethora of topics, including the cost of doing business in a post-Covid era, why networks and peer support are the cornerstone of sustainable business growth and how the Help to Grow Management programme has helped bolster their respective businesses.

The ‘Why Small Business Matters podcast’, which provides a platform for small business leaders to tell their stories, offer advice and discuss what it means to be a “thriving SME” in today’s business landscape, was established by Newcastle Business School’s Help to Grow Management delivery team, in 2021.

A government-funded, 12-week management course, it provides critical skills and networks to help small business leaders innovate and thrive in a post-Covid era. The programme, designed to be completed alongside full-time work, is 90 per cent funded and requires a one-time payment of £750.

Caroline Theobald, said: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK’s economy making up 99 per cent of the business population, contributing a combined turnover of £1.6tn to the economy and accounting for three fifths of private sector employment.

“When we talk about levelling up, small business plays a significant part in achieving this. Given the North East has the lowest number of private businesses in the UK, we must support and protect the ones we do have and create an environment in which both established and startups can flourish.

“The anniversary episode of the ‘Why Small Business Matters’ highlights the importance of support, networks and mentorship and this is exactly what the Help to Grow Management programme offers.”

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