Lancashire businesses urged to ward off future crises with new, funded programme

October 07, 2020 - 12:00am

Lancashire businesses urged to ward off future crises with new, funded programme

Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) is running a brand-new programme to help Lancashire businesses explore and adapt their business models so they are better prepared to weather future storms.

SMEs are being urged to sign up to the new ‘Business Model Innovation’ programme, which has been designed by LUMS’ business experts in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure businesses are as agile and resilient as possible.

“LUMS academics and staff have been working with SMEs right through the pandemic, offering support and advice as they made sense of the ever-evolving situation, and as they navigate the different restrictions imposed by Government,” explained Matt Hutchinson, Project Manager at Lancaster University Management School.

“It became clear to us that many of our regional SMEs operate using business models that rely on face-to-face interaction, so they were effectively paralysed for months due to Covid-19 restrictions – their processes and systems unworkable. Being able to change and flex existing business models is an invaluable skill and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to invest time to prepare for the unexpected.”

The first cohort for Lancashire SMEs will start on 18th November and will run as three half-day sessions, delivered online. Participants will take part in workshops and explore topics such as changing customer needs in the ‘new normal’, how to innovate to create new workable business models and how to build resilience to ensure businesses can withstand external forces.

Matt Hutchinson continued: “We know that time is precious for the businesses trying to get back on their feet after a turbulent few months so we have designed the programme to be as accessible and effective as possible. Now more than ever, SMEs need to stay alert to potential risks. While Covid-19 is around, and while issues like Brexit, climate change and seismic technological shifts affect us all, developing a culture of innovation around business models is invaluable for a prosperous, stable future.”

The programme, which is delivered as part of Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub, is fully-funded, and available to European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) eligible businesses. SME directors or owner-managers based in Lancashire who employ three or more members of staff are encouraged to register interest via www.lancaster.ac.uk/lums/bmi or contact bmi@lancaster.ac.uk / 01524 593632.