Government has announced they have spent £20 MILLION on ‘two new leadership programmes’ which aim to ‘help small business leaders grow’ in the wake of COVID-19. However, the help is limited, the classes remote, and all the Department of Business has to show for the massive expense is a few websites!

Small Business Leadership Programme website.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis spurs British businesses to adopt new ways of working, the government is investing £20 million to improve small businesses’ management, productivity and problem-solving skills through 2 training programmes, at this crucial time in the UK’s economic recovery.

The Department of Business has launched the ‘Small Business Leadership Programme’, and the ‘Peer Networks Programme’ with the intentions of helping small business leaders to improve their management, productivity and problem-solving skills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible business ‘leaders’ will be able to take part in a 10-week program of remote education which has been created experts from Universities and business schools.

The Small Business Leadership Programme will focus on leadership skills. Those taking part will be expected to attend EIGHT ’90-minute long’ webinars, which will be delivered by ‘business experts’. Those taking part MUST be able to complete up to 2 weeks of peer-supported and independent study every week, for the entire 10-weeks duration.

The Peer Networks Programme looks to help eligible business owners improve how they find new customers, how they use technology or manage customer record during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peer Networks Programme website

The Department of Businesses has announced that 2,000 places will be made available on the Small Business Leadership Programme, and 6,000 places will be available on the Peer Networks programme.

The Department of Business has announced the following eligibility guidelines for both programs…

To access the Small Business Leadership Programme businesses must:

  • Your business must be an SME based in England
  • Your business needs to employ between 5 and 249 people and been operational for at least one year
  • The participant should be a decision-maker or member of the senior management team within the business with at least one person reporting directly to them
  • The participant must be able to commit to attending the full programme

To access the Peer Networks program businesses must:

  • Operated for at least one year
  • At least five employees
  • A turnover of at least £100,000
  • An aspiration to improve

While there is no time-investment required of those joining the Peer Networks program, people taking part in the Small Business Leadership Programme are expected to spend at least 3.5 hours every week, for a minimum of 32 hours over the 10 weeks.

While it is undeniable that businesses (new and old) need help in the wake of COVID-19 (a fact Voice Britannia knows well), this is simply not the help us businesses need! These programs look more like Government trying to find new ways to give MILLIONS of pounds to big businesses and wealthy organisations at a time when thousands of people are losing their jobs every single day.

The Small Business Leadership Programme is nothing more than a ramshackle remote learning course, with the added bonus of having no qualification to show at the end of the 10-week course; and the peer network, they have hundreds of Linkedin groups and Zoom-based conferences for this already!

What is most vexing is that all the public will ever really see of this ‘£20 million investment’ is the programmes 2 websites. In the coming months, questions must be asked about how government has spent such so much money developing a short, qualification-free, remote-learning course which only 2000 people will ever take part in, once!

Did Government really need to spend £20 MILLION setting up a remote learning course, or could have spent the money in 20 million BETTER ways?

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