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Lancaster University scheme wins global praise

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A government programme led by Lancaster University to boost economic growth across the UK has scooped a silver award from the European Foundation for Management Development.

The ‘Wave 2 Growth Hub’ Programme, devised by Lancaster University Management School and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has been handed the accolade after it helped around 67,000 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) create more than 4,000 jobs right across the country.

More than 16 cities were involved in the £32m programme, which was funded by the Regional Growth Fund and delivered between September 2013 and June 2015.

The programme resulted in the creation of 15 Growth Hubs to promote economic growth and improve business support. It enabled small businesses in places including Coventry, Dorset, Swindon and Stoke-on-Trent to share experiences and problems with others in similar positions, and gave them the opportunity to step back from their day-to-day operations to think strategically about the future of their organisations.

Prof Ellie Hamilton from Lancaster University Management School was the director of the ‘Wave 2 Growth Hub’ Programme.

She said: “This successful programme demonstrated the vital role that universities play in supporting businesses across the country, and we are delighted that its scale and significance has been recognised with this award.
The Wave 2 Growth Hub Programme provided the perfect opportunity for us to put our decades of experience of supporting SMEs into practice, and bring the latest thinking, world-class research and entrepreneurship to benefit local and national economies.

“As a result, thousands more people are now employed, and the small and medium sized businesses that may once have feared the future are flourishing - something that makes us feel very proud.”

In addition to the £32m nof public funding allocated to various regions around the UK, the programme also leveraged an additional £75m of private sector investment to help address challenges some SMEs encounter with investment that hinders local growth. The original 15 Growth Hubs developed by Lancaster University kick-started a new national resource which has now grown to include hubs from all 38 Local Enterprise Partnership areas.

Launched in 2007, the EFMD Excellence Awards are presented annually to recognise projects that Business Schools and partner organisations deliver that are particularly effective and impactful. The 2018 winners are invited to present their projects to an international audience at the EFMD Executive Development Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland in October.

For more information about EFMD and its awards visit: www.efmd.org/eip/2018