Greater Manchester Universities launch programme to boost SME growth

Centre for Sustainable Innovation

Funding has been secured by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for a programme aimed at micro and small businesses and delivered by the business schools at four universities across GM

Companies will be able to access Open SME: as an online support platform. 

Since it started in March 2022 over 400 businesses have accessed and utilised the content.

The new funding will support the development of brand-new content and a refresh of existing materials and tools to allow businesses to continue to access the platform and unlock even more practical tips to help continue to grow. 

Funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and delivered by the University of Salford, University of Manchester, University of Bolton and Manchester Metropolitan University, the programme forms part of the offering from Salford’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation. 

The centre launched in January 2024 to help bridge the gap between academia and business.

Dr Ann Mulhaney, Associate Professor at Salford Business School’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation, commented: “Open SME is a great opportunity for local microbusinesses to access support. This population is often underrepresented in the support ecosystem and Open SME allows them to work on their businesses when it best suits them. Working together in this consortia has been truly groundbreaking and it is fantastic that we have secured the funding to continue.”

Professor Jennie Shorley, Academic Director at Centre for Enterprise, Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Having worked with many business leaders we know how important it is to allow them to access support regardless of location and schedule and that is what Open SME does.”

The topics range from Finance, People, Markets and Models and Digital, Open SME offers bite-sized learning and practical tools to assess and improve a business.