Mary-Jane Kingsland - Could the growth accelerator programme work for your business?

Mary-Jane Kingsland, of the Coaching Collective. For: Elaine Maslin

Mary-Jane Kingsland, of the Coaching Collective. For: Elaine Maslin

I listened with great interest to the talk given by Kay Burt, of Kay Burt Investments Limited this week.

I listened with great interest to the talk given by Kay Burt, of Kay Burt Investments Limited this week.

Kay is a local IFA; former Investment Strategist for Aviva and Deputy Chair of the Norwich Business Women's Network.

My ears pricked up when she talked about low levels of consumer confidence in the UK - attributable in part to our relatively high levels of unemployment (8pc) and our low economic and wage growth.

However as she pointed out, if you compare current figures to the dark days of 2008 when there were real fears that the global banking system was set for failure, the current risk could well be viewed with greater confidence. If we compare ourselves to Greece and Spain for instance, their unemployment figures are a crippling 25pc and 26pc respectively.

With that in mind, we have reasons to be cheerful, yet gloomy hypothesising by the pundits feeds the fear and keeps our nationalistic, 'Keep Calm And Carry On' mentality - buckling down and biting our stiff upper lips. We should have more confidence in our resources.

One much maligned and often cricitised resource is funding, or to be more precise, fit for the job, targeted funding, specifically designed to grow your business.

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Whether you are a micro, SME or larger organisation, funding which facilitates growth is usually a necessity. Yet, media coverage of the funding available does little to inspire increased fiscal confidence.

As one of more than 800 countrywide registered high growth coaches with the government funded Growth Accelerator programme, I have a degree of insider knowledge and I am more than happy to share it.

This particular initiative enables access to financial experts who have proven track records and experience in helping businesses raise investment and obtain business finance.

The initiative is funded by the government, but delivered by the private sector, a recipe for success in itself, I would think. The benefits include a comprehensive assessment of your business' suitability and potential for raising finance, through one to one coaching and master-classes.

Moreover it offers help developing the 'building blocks' to attract investment and facilitates profitable contacts designed to accelerate business growth.

Unique to England, the Growth Accelerator support is available for all small and medium sized businesses, who fall below a not insubstantial limit of a £40m turnover per annum and employ less than 250 people.

So far the initiative has supported a wide variety of business, but interestingly, the biggest take up is amongst micro businesses (66pc), those businesses with less than 10 employees.

Another 30pc is among businesses who employ 10-49 people. The remaining 4pc of Growth Accelerator clients fall into the 50-249 employee bracket.

The premise of the initiative is that achieving 20pc growth year on year is the hallmark of a high growth businesses. It doesn't matter what stage of growth you're at, as long as you can demonstrate a determination to grow and are registered in England.

Demographically the largest take up is in the North West (21pc); the Eastern region is currently 10pc overall.

Interestingly, 34pc of Growth Accelerator client's have traded for longer than 10 years, demonstrating that long term experience of operating in a less than perfect market place is merely a challenge to overcome.