Captured gives small firms the opportunity to spend time developing their business with hands-on support from experienced managers from larger private sector organisations. It was launched after Newcastle University Business School secured funding from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) to pilot the project in Tyneside.
In the first phase of the programme, 38 senior managers from 18 large organisations provided advice and support to 41 small firm owners across the North East. Participants in the scheme include some of the region’s largest companies including tech specialist Sage, engineering giant Siemens and automotive component supplier Calsonic Kansei.
Captured will run until the end of 2016 and the plan is to extend the programme when funding is secured.
Dr Fiona Whitehurst, Captured project lead at Newcastle University Business School, said: “Captured is a great example of how the business school can act as a catalyst and innovator of business growth and development. The take-up has been really good and we are delighted that the scheme has benefited 79 individuals from small and large organisations.”
One beneficiary of Captured is David McKie, a health and safety expert and founder of Think Safety Services and Solutions (TSSS). The Whitley Bay-based company offers consultancy services to help firms comply with health and safety, fire safety and environmental legislation.
After signing up to the Captured programme, David worked with Joanne Munro from Calsonic who helped him draw up a six-month business plan with measurable aims and objectives.
Mr McKie said: “Captured has raised my profile, boosted my confidence and given me the tools to become a success. What really appealed was the chance to network and link in with larger companies that have been there and done it.
“Joanne has opened doors and put me in front of key people who could help me develop my business. I’ve managed to do just that and am now working with some great clients.”
Captured is open to firms with fewer than 20 employees and aims to address the particular issues faced by small businesses at critical points in their development. After an initial workshop with other small firms, in which aims and expectations are mapped out, the small firm works with an experienced manager from a large organisation to identify opportunities, challenges and barriers to business growth.