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Cranfield School of Management: Business Growth Programme [2021]

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Attendees of 42 virtual events


Year on year profits growth


Participating businesses since 1988


Sales increase

Key sectors

Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Building & Construction Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Creative, digital, film, games & media Professional services Defence & security Technology & Communications Engineering / Advanced Engineering Transport & Logistics Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare

Cranfield’s Business Growth Programme (BGP) is the longest-established leadership programme for ambitious owner-managed businesses in the UK.  Over 2,800 business founders/co-founders from more than 2,100 independent businesses have participated in BGP since its launch in 1988. The programme portfolio has expanded out of BGP to provide development over the business life cycle and leadership coaching for senior teams. 

Typical BGP participants are founders operating for at least three years, with turnover between £0.8m and £20m and who are seeking to scale. Analysis shows participants grow their businesses faster than their peers. On average revenue growth is 19% a year, profits grow year on year by 41% and sales increase by 21%.  

In BGP, Cranfield works to turn knowledge into action, combining the latest academic thinking with peer-to-peer learning and facilitated conversations around relevant topics for business owners. Participants leave with a robust business growth plan, which is reviewed for progress after 90 days. The School of Management has seen some alumni returning to the programme for a second time to take their business to a further stage of growth.

Introduced in 2020, the 12-week “Ready for Scale” online programme designed for micro/small SMEs and the “SEMLEP Growth Curve Programme” for scaleups in the South East Midlands region have continued to cater for the entire entrepreneurial lifecycle. Both programmes had more than 75 participants over the first 12 months.

During 2020 and 2021, Cranfield’s face-to-face programmes were moved to live online versions, taking into account the economic uncertainty and the new reality each owner-manager had to deal with while still providing the focus and strategic impact of a face-to-face programme. The next cohort is planned to return to a face-to-face delivery in February 2022 with an online version of the programme also available starting in May 2022.

In the last 12 months Cranfield evolved its BGP Response Programme to become the ‘Owning the Winter’ Programme. Providing  a reliable source of relevant information and support for the alumni community and across the UK.

Cranfield School of Management: Business Growth Programme [2021] website