If you’re one of the Kingdom’s SME business leaders and want to develop your skills, Fife Council wants to hear from you
Sustaining and creating growth in a changing environment is especially challenging for SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). When you alone are responsible for running the company, finding the time to engage in additional study and business planning is not easy.
And yet, future growth in the Fife economy is dependent on more of our businesses developing the capability, the plans and the ambition to grow. Fife already has a high-performing SME sector, with a recent Experian survey indicating that the region has some of the best-performing micro businesses in Britain.
But we can always do more – recognising that SMEs need support to develop their growth potential, Fife Council and Edinburgh Napier University’s Business School have devised a programme to create a community of innovation and enterprise amongst participating businesses.
In October last year, a group of SME business leaders from across the region began an eight-month Entrepreneurial Leadership programme focussing on enhancing and developing their abilities to lead their businesses through the uncertainties, opportunities and challenges of a fast-moving environment.
Programme participant, Sam Fernando, Director at Keela International Ltd, said: “I have found this programme to be highly practical, giving useful insights into how I can develop as a leader and propose actions for the growth of my business, both in the UK and overseas.”
Cllr David Ross, Fife Council leader and co-chair of the Fife Taskforce, said: “This Entrepreneurial Leadership programme, funded by the Fife Taskforce, is part of a package of new activities to support business growth.
“The Fife Taskforce is focused on actions that support people, business and communities affected by recent closures and job losses to drive economic growth and employment creation. We are supporting this programme as entrepreneurs and enterprising leaders are a key catalyst to economic recovery and growth.
“Continuing to grow our vibrant SME base in Fife is vital for the long term benefit of our economy. By doing so they become fixtures in their local economies, creating wealth and providing valuable employment for local people. This new programme is one of the ways that we are seeking to maximise their potential through targeted business advice and training.”
Pamela Stevenson, lead officer for Enterprise and Business Development, Fife Council, said: “Working with Edinburgh Napier University on this pilot, has been very encouraging. Supporting Fife business leaders is integral to driving resilience and growth within our SME community. The Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme allows the business leaders to focus on themselves as leaders and on their businesses. This ensures they can enhance their capabilities, becoming more effective as a business leader and create opportunities for growth in their businesses.”
This flexible Entrepreneurial Leadership programme inspires business growth, encouraging and facilitating business networking and collaboration as well as greater access and signposting to the key economic agencies and initiatives available to SMEs in Fife.
Dr Susan Laing, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Edinburgh Napier University, added: “We have a strong track record of working closely with SMEs to encourage a creative and innovative approach to business leadership and growth. Our team combines academic experts and practitioners with extensive practical expertise in working with and understanding the needs of small businesses and their leaders within the entrepreneurial eco-system.”
Key to the programme’s success, and as a means to measure impacts and outcomes, is an accelerator project. Each business leader identifies the aims, objectives, milestones and outcomes required to grow their business and creates an action plan where activity is tracked as they progress.
The final programme session took place on 3 June, with the SMEs presenting the impacts of their study. Programme participants completed the programme by receiving an Executive Certificate in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Edinburgh Napier University.
Fife Council and Edinburgh Napier University would like to congratulate the business leaders who have successfully completed the programme. Fife Council’s Economic Development Team can confirm that they will continue this programme and invite SMEs to participate in the next group later this year.
If you are a business leader in an SME based in Fife and interested in finding out more about the next Entrepreneurial Leadership programme, please contact Pamela Stevenson at Pamela.Stevenson@fife.gov.uk