University launches county-wide coaching scheme for high growth businesses

Up to 220 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who are based in the county and demonstrate their high growth potential, may be eligible for a subsidised business acceleration coaching scheme managed by the University of Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire’s Accelerated Impact Network Support (GAINS) project is a European Regional Development Fund programme, specifically designed to enable ambitious small and medium sized businesses to realise their growth potential and accelerate their rate of business growth.

GAINS project manager, Geraldine McCullagh, is a business coach herself, having trained and coached on the prestigious BBC Executive Coach scheme.

She said: “This is a really exciting Gloucestershire specific support programme designed to take SMEs with high growth potential on to the next level in terms of increased turnover, job creation and the development of new products and services.

“I’m really pleased with the calibre of coach we’ve selected for the GAINS programme. They’re a mixture of full-time-business-coaches, who make their living coaching across a range of sectors, and sector specialists/ consultants who also coach and mentor within their professional field.”

Geraldine added: “GAINS is aimed at Gloucestershire based SMEs with high growth potential and they can reclaim 40 per cent of the costs of four days of high quality business coaching from top quality coaches.

“In addition they will get access to free masterclasses that tackle the needs of local high-growth SMEs, an in-depth business diagnostic service and participation in business-to-business networking events.”

Participating businesses should be based in Gloucestershire, meet the scheme’s ‘high growth potential’ criteria and ideally be able to complete the coaching programme within six months.

The coaching offered on the programme is very operations based. It’s for SMEs who actively want to grow their business and put the steps and processes in place to increase their profitability, their clients or customers and their products and services.

These are all measureable outcomes and GAINS is all about tangible results. Working with a GAINS coach will challenge a business owner’s thinking and be a sounding board to test and explore new ways of working, all in pursuit of a bespoke higher growth plan.

The GAINS business support programme, which also includes access to masterclasses developed in direct response to SME needs and to a Gloucestershire specific high growth networking group, has been developed in response to the issues for local businesses highlighted in the ESIF (European Structural and Investment Funds) strategy. These include:

• Leadership for Growth (68 per cent of SMEs don’t train their managers in managing people)

• The Art of Strategy (65 per cent of SMEs don’t have a formal business plan)

• Finance for Growth (76 per cent of SMEs don’t access external finance)

• Developing your Minimal Viable Product (57 per cent of SMEs don’t introduce new or improved products)

• Break Through Business Innovation (Gloucestershire’s level of productivity is falling behind)

The GAINS ambitions are simple and transformational – to work with businesses who want to grow and contribute to a growing Gloucestershire economy. This can be achieved by enabling business owners to step outside their business and use fresh thinking to overcome their challenges to achieve the best possible performance.

We are delighted to announce that our business advisory team are approved coaches on the programme. Richard Gray (featured with Geraldine McCullagh and Josie Truscott in the GAINS photo) is leading our involvement with the GAINS programme and is joined by Partner, Will Abbott. With over 21 years’ experience in various business development roles, Richard is a qualified mBIT coach and well known across the Gloucestershire business scene due to his past role as county lead on the successful Growth Accelerator scheme.

The programme is limited to just 220 Gloucestershire based interested SMEs. For further information please contact Geraldine on or tel 01242 715400.