The learning that participants engage in through the programme will take a number of forms, all of which are designed to be immediately relevant to the business needs of each participant.

  • SME managers, through the group discussions, will learn from each other’s experiences in facing issues which they commonly share.
  • Where practical technical questions arise in the groups that need specialist knowledge, such as in IT, finance, HR, marketing, or process design, Facilitators will frequently be able to obtain relevant advice from the appropriate department in their own organization.
  • For each group, focused on a specific sector, opportunities will be organized to participate in activities or to access resources of the KIC that relates to that sector, whether, Raw Materials, InnoEnergy, Manufacturing or Digital. Requests for specific provision of webinars or training will also be made to the relevant KIC where a gap is identified of interest to a critical mass of participants in the programme.
  • Experts will be brought in to provide workshops and training to participants in response to needs that they identify as important to their development and the development of their company.
  • A specific programme of workshops and mentoring will be provided for each participant to support them in the methodology and practice of preparing their own strategic plan.
  • For all participants, and training of Group Facilitators, emphasis will be given to the importance of strengthening skills in both digital technology and development of innovation that will promote sustainability.

The completed strategic plan be submitted for a postgraduate award accredited by a partner HEI. The panel that will assess the plans and interview the owner manager to assess the true level of understanding developed will include a venture capitalist with experience of assessing business plans. Achievement of this award will provide a kite mark of quality to the business plan which will give it added credibility when approaching potential investors.