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Cranfield School of Management: Business Growth Programme [2020]

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Attendees of 42 virtual events


Year on year profits growth


Participating businesses since 1988


Sales increase

Key sectors

Healthcare 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

Cranfield’s Business Growth Programme (BGP) is the longest-established leadership programme for ambitious owner-managed businesses in the UK.  It has had nearly 2,800 business founders/co-founders from over 2,100 independent businesses participating 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% (data pre-Covid).  

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.

New programmes have been introduced to cater for the entire entrepreneurial lifecycle: a 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. Both programmes had more than 75 participants over the first 12 months.

As a result of Covid-19 Cranfield’s face-to-face programmes were moved to live online versions.  The BGP September cohort is taking part in an abridged live online programme which takes into account the economic uncertainty and the new reality each owner-manager has to deal with over the winter period while still providing the focus and strategic impact of a face-to-face programme.

In March Cranfield launched the BGP Response Programme which was designed to provide a reliable source of relevant information and support for the alumni community and across the UK during the Covid pandemic. Between March and September the programme hosted 42 events with over 2,800 participants accessing the events live or via recordings.

Cranfield School of Management: Business Growth Programme [2020] website