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Strathclyde Business School: Growth Advantage Programme [2022]

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Companies supported


Businesses grew jobs by average annual rate above 20%


Business increased turnover by average annual rate above 20%


Greater projected average sales within 3 years


Female participants


B Corp certification

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

First launched in 2015 the Growth Advantage Programme (GAP) provides relevant, accessible and practical learning for fast-growing Scottish businesses taking the scaleup journey.  It is aimed at growth businesses with a minimum £1 million turnover.  Participants typically come from all over Scotland – although there have been participants from Kent and Cambridge – from a wide range of sectors and include companies started from scratch, bought and multi-generation family businesses – all with ambitions to grow further and faster.

Invited participants are offered a programme that links high-quality executive education with the insights and shared learning that comes from peer networks.  Business leaders attend an initial one-day orientation meeting and four two-day workshops that take place over ten months. Delivery of the face-to-face elements for the most recent cohort was severely impacted by Covid with the group finally completing the programme in February 2022. During the cohort’s journey through the programme average turnover and employment grew from £3.9m and 28 employees by 28% and 18% respectively to £5m and 33 employees. 

The programme is reviewed regularly and changes made from lessons learned. New developments include a series of GAP alumni CPD events that include their successful Effective Board workshop. The 2021 launch of Help to Grow: Management has created new synergies for the programme and GAP’s cohort six includes a number of Help to Grow graduates keen to continue their scaling journeys.

Cohort six launches in November 2022 and will continue along the successful GAP model of bringing together a diverse group of ambitious business builders from across a range of sectors and creating a strong peer learning environment.  New elements for this cohort include emphasis on responsible business and conscious leadership. This includes a focus on the emerging opportunities afforded by environmental, social governance and a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

“We have implemented KPIs, a new strategic objective, additional products and services, developed a new product (yet to launch), started building a leadership team and a management team, and spend much more time working on the business (as opposed to in it). We have expanded our presence by opening offices in Edinburgh and Birmingham. The business has significantly matured and GAP has played an important part in this. I think much more strategically about the business and this is present in much of my decision making. I see business in a different light now too – particularly in the idea of building ‘value’ rather than building capability, revenue etc (which of course are important).” Mark Lamb – M3 Networks

“Learning from the Market and Operations Advantage modules used extensively to develop new private networks product and processes for deployment in UK and US markets.” Craig Birchenough, GAP Alumni, Cohort 2 – Wireless Infrastructure

Strathclyde Business School: Growth Advantage Programme [2022] website