When the applied research centre of a business school wanted to create a programme to support the growth of local businesses, it turned to Telos Partners’ previous experience with working with three other universities to do just that. Leveraging this accumulated expertise, we worked closely with the leadership team to form a successful partnership and develop a commercially viable and sustainable way to support local founder-led businesses…




Keen to support local business growth
The applied research centre of a business school in the South-East of England harboured an ambition to better understand how local businesses grow, and to play a more important role in supporting their growth. Its leadership team was keen to develop better ways of engaging with these businesses and, in doing so, develop a commercially viable and sustainable way for the university to support the growth of small enterprises.

Successful engagement and interventions
Leveraging our experience of working with three other universities to create support programmes for over 600 ambitious business owners, we worked in partnership with the research centre to engage with local businesses; design and develop an integrated suite of support interventions; promote, sell and deliver the interventions; and help shape how the work would continue in a sustainable way after our involvement.

We helped the business school to engage with over 200 local founder-led businesses, and developed strong commercial relationships with over 20 of these. These enterprises operate in a wide range of sectors, with between 5 and 30 employees. Typical support interventions included business improvement and growth programmes, a growth network and coaching sessions, and in-company consultancy.

A clear strategy for future development
Our work with the research centre enabled the business school to not only be clearer about its strategy for local business support but to also ensure that its leadership team is confident about how it will continue to develop the programme after this initial period.

As a result of successfully engaging with and supporting the growth of local commercial ventures, the business school has enhanced its reputation across the region and also opened up the possibility of potential international collaborations. We also helped the leadership team to identify future research themes that are valuable for local businesses.

Immediate and impressive results
By working closely with the participating firms to develop robust plans for growth and supporting their delivery, the business school helped the local businesses they worked with to achieve a combined 23% increase in revenue. These firms also recorded a 19% increase in employment as a result of the interventions they benefited from.

Hard components

  • Over £300k of commercial revenue generated for the partnership
  • 23% increase in revenue and 19% increase in employment for participating businesses

Soft components

  • Enhanced reputation of the business school with local businesses
  • Leadership team confident and clear on future direction of the project

 

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"The chance to not only have advice and coaching but to spend time with other business owners to learn from their experiences is something you would rarely get in other situations. We now have financial systems and processes in place, and these have significantly improved our cash flow as a result of more accurate forecasts and more streamlined invoicing."