ARU celebrates success of thriving small businesses

Published: 11 March 2024 at 16:00

Fiona McGonigle and Professor Mohammad Ali

Leaders mark completion of course to help small and medium enterprises grow

A celebration event organised by Anglia Ruskin University has highlighted the success of a course designed to help the region’s small businesses grow.

Graduates from the Help to Grow: Management scheme received certificates at the event, and they were joined by business owners from across the region. Representatives from local authorities, NHS Trusts, startups, scaleups, and charitable organisations from across the region also attended the event at the Hilton Hotel in Cambridge.

The Help to Grow: Management programme sees business leaders receive advice and mentoring from industry experts, academics, and entrepreneurs, and is supported by the Government, which offers a 90% subsidy for eligible businesses. ARU offers a bursary to cover the additional 10%, in recognition of the challenges SMEs are currently facing, available on full completion of the course.

Group of people involved in the Help to Grow management programme

Help to Grow began with two cohorts in Peterborough, before expanding to Cambridge with the next cohort due to begin the course in Chelmsford on 15 April. The Help to Grow: Management course consists of online and in-person sessions and is designed to help business owners make informed decisions, inspire their teams, and navigate future challenges with confidence.

After completing the course, participants join ARU’s expanding Help to Grow Alumni Network, providing ongoing opportunities for networking and collaboration.

Group of Help to Grow management programme alumni

Professor Mohammad Ali, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, said:

“We were delighted to host this celebration event for businesses and partners across the region. It gave us the opportunity to recognise their success and find out how ARU can continue to support them in the future.”

Business Engagement and Innovation Lead at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) Fiona McGonigle, who is also ARU’s Help to Grow Programme Manager and Help to Grow Alumni Network Lead, said:

“ARU works with so many different types of businesses and we want to nurture ideas and encourage talented individuals to develop and grow. The celebration dinner gave us the opportunity to bring industry, education, and partners together, which has resulted in flourishing discussions and potential projects. 

“The Help to Grow course provides invaluable support on navigating the challenges that face businesses today, as well as offering a range of valuable networking and mentoring opportunities, helping these businesses – the cornerstone of our communities – to thrive.

“The positive feedback received following the celebration dinner has highlighted the desire from businesses to collaborate with ARU in various ways.”

To find out more about the forthcoming Help to Grow: Management course, visit or contact Fiona McGonigle at [email protected].