Eleven ambitious businesses have joined the latest cohort of a Teesside University programme which helps companies in the Tees Valley reach their full potential.
LEAP 50 is a fully-funded programme, delivered in conjunction with the Tees Valley Combined Authority, which helps scale-up companies meet the challenges of growing their business.
Over the course of eight months, in one day and two day sessions, the eleven businesses will work together to look at the different obstacles they might face as they scale their company for growth and learn from business growth specialists and their peers on how to overcome them.
The programme uses entrepreneurial leadership techniques to develop knowledge and experience and consider practical ways of unlocking barriers to growth. It enables business leaders to meet the challenge of accelerating business growth while at the same time leading and managing it successfully.
This is the second cohort of LEAP 50 which ultimately will see at least 50 businesses take the next leap forward in their business.
Dr Susan Laing, dean of Teesside University Business School, welcomed the businesses at an introductory session held at Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington.
She said: “It’s fantastic to see another cohort of exciting businesses take part in this programme which is already proving to be a great success.
“Some of the speakers this year will include participants from the previous cohort who will be talking about the changes they have made to their business practices and the impact LEAP 50 has had upon their company.
“The course will make participants more effective as leaders, allowing them to take their teams with them as their businesses get bigger and better.”
Caroline Theobald CBE, chairman of FIRST, is one of the course tutors delivering sessions on leadership coaching.
She said: “Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely place, particularly if your business is growing.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for business leaders to gain new knowledge and support each other.
“The peer group element of the course is invaluable as everybody needs a support network.
“In turn this will help make the businesses more sustainable and contribute to the economic growth of the Tees Valley.”
Dave Wrigley from the Yorkshire Gelato Company added: “I really believe in personal development, you can read so many books but nothing compares to hands-on learning so when I was offered the opportunity to take part in this programme I leapt at the chance.
“As I move forward and the business gets bigger the programme will give me the skills to be able to manage the growth more effectively.”
LEAP 50 came about following a visit to Teesside University by Sherry Coutu CBE, the chair of the ScaleUp Institute, a private sector, not-for-profit company focused on making the UK the best place in the world to scale up a business.
A report from the institute recognised that the Tees Valley had a higher than average proportion of scale up businesses – companies with more than 10 employees and average annual growth of 20% or more in employees or turnover– but they were not capitalising on the opportunity to grow further.
Tees mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m thrilled to see the LEAP 50 programme return for a second year on the back of a highly successful first year. We have some amazing start-up companies in the Tees Valley founded by great innovators, entrepreneurs and risk-takers.
“As these companies’ scale-up and reach their full potential, they will be the job creators of the future, so it’s incredibly important that we support them as much as possible.”
The businesses taking part in the latest cohort of LEAP 50 are Lynas Engineers, Endeavour Partnership, Cetax, PTS Demolition, Sign Art Studios, HR2Day, D S Wills, Stratus Technologies, The Yorkshire Gelato Company, ERW Joinery and Vivendi Equestrian.
For more information on Teesside University’s services to business visit www.tees.ac.uk/business.