Going for growth – Funding for Business Support & Coaching

It may sound like a plant fertiliser, but the GrowthAccelerator is a new government-subsidised business support service aimed at businesses with potential and ambition. Business development consultant Barclay Thompson is one of the scheme’s 800 growth coaches and says it offers a great opportunity for businesses interested in fast-track growth. Helen Keevy spoke to him to find out more about the service.

Barclay’s been working as an independent business advisor and coach for over a decade, drawing on the experience he gained setting up and running his own successful business. During that time he’s been involved in a number of business support and finance schemes in south London. He’s currently working with a four local businesses through the GrowthAccelerator scheme and believes “it’s an affordable way for clients to get quality, personalised business coaching.”

How it works

GrowthAccelerator was launched in 2012 to support businesses to achieve high growth rates. Its services are intended to double the size of a business in three years. Unlike some previous government-funded services there is an upfront cost for joining the GrowthAccelerator. For businesses from 1 to 4 employees you need to pay out £600, for businesses with 5 to 49 employees that increases to £1,500, and for businesses of up to 249 the cost is £3,000.

For that you get a total of seven days of personal business coaching and advice focused on helping you achieve a high growth rate. That’s worth approximately £3,500. You also have access to courses and events aimed at businesses that share your ambitious growth targets.

Funding for leadership skills

GrowthAccelerator businesses also get funding for leadership development and management training. The government will match up to £2,000 per person for training that builds personal leadership skills.

It’s not a programme, it’s a personalised service

Barclay stresses that GrowthAccelerator is not a step-by-step programme, but rather a flexible way to get affordable expertise in areas of your business where you need it, whether that’s your growth strategy, operations, marketing or raising finance.

“Every government programme needs to provide support in a way that is uniform across the country, but this scheme is delivered through individuals working with individuals – it’s really flexible. It’s based on coaching, helping business owners focus and develop strategies and skills to grow their businesses. The service also has some high quality strategy and visioning tools that I’ve used with my clients and had great results.”

Determination to grow

If you meet the basic criteria (English company, less than 250 employees, turnover of under £40m pa) the other requirement is a determination to grow. Barclay feels it is this that is making his experience of working with his GrowthAccelerator clients so rewarding.

“Everyone I’m working with is talented and determined to take their business to the next level. It’s fantastic working with people like that and seeing their business begin to grow.”

Barclay has been working with fellow Chamber member, F10 Studios for about six months now. This architectural visualisation company has doubled its employees and is on track for doubling its turnover and profits this year too.

According to F10’s Director, Nick Homer: “Working with Barclay on the GrowthAccelerator programme is a great experience. He very quickly gets under the bonnet of your business, drawing from his vast business experience to create a very thorough business plan and giving solid advice on every aspect of your business. Getting his expertise at a subsidised rate was an added bonus.”

Interested in the GrowthAccelerator?

Contact Barclay at Clear Business Development if you’d like to discuss how your business could get the boost it needs through GrowthAccelerator. Call 01273 275 832 or email barclay@reallyclear.co.uk.

Written by Helen Keevy, writer and editor at Core Copywriting.