Business Growth Programme (BGP)

Cranfield School of Management

How long?

  • 3 months
  • online

What are the topics?

Cranfield School of Management


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Who should attend

To be considered for a place on the BGP, what we typically look for is owner-managers of businesses that have been in operation for 3 or more years, with a staff of 5 to 50 and a turnover between £0.5m and £20m. In some circumstances, we will also consider managing directors and other senior team members of privately owned businesses who have strategic control but not necessarily an ownership stake.

The BGP has a strong selection process that aims to ensure businesses that do come on the programme will see tangible benefits. Upon application you will first talk to an executive development advisor and if necessary may be referred to a BGP counsellor for further guidance.

About the course

Designed specifically for the development of owner-managers, the Business Growth Programme helps you create the future you want for your business and for yourself.

As the UK’s longest running programme for owner-managers looking to take their business to the next stage, the Business Growth Programme provides the highest level of expertise, experience and interactive engagement that traditional business courses or online resources are unable to offer.

What makes the programme so successful, in addition to structured modules and content, is the time dedicated to transforming knowledge into actions for your business, working directly with the BGP counsellors, peer-to-peer mentoring in small groups and invaluable interactions with experts and experienced business owners.

The BGP counsellors are central to the journey and play a key role in the development - and indeed the lives - of the participants that they mentor. In many cases the relationship does not end when the programme ends, but often continues well into the future, as does the bond formed between the delegates themselves.

Course structure

The BGP is a modular programme that allows you to continue to run your business while you participate. The main part of the programme runs over 11 weeks. During that time, there are four two-day modules here at Cranfield. In between the modules, you will be working on developing your own strategy for your business and you will be making immediate improvements. Five weeks after the fourth module is the Business Plan Review, where you will present your strategy and plans to a panel made up of the BGP team and independent advisors. About six months later we reconvene for the Progress Review Day when we review actual progress against your plan. Throughout the programme, you will be supported by an experienced BGP counsellor who works with you on a 1-2-1 basis, and within a small group, to ensure that you get the maximum value from your BGP experience.

What you will learn

The benefits you achieve from your BGP experience will depend on your particular situation. Typical benefits that past participants have achieved:

  • Faster and more managed growth
  • A more valuable business
  • A robust and rigorous plan
  • More confidence, more focus, more energy
  • An exit plan
  • Improved profitability
  • Greater clarity over their personal goals and drivers
  • More effective leadership and improved management skills
  • Greater confidence in the future
  • Less stress, more time off and more fun!

Core content

The Business Growth Programme is centred entirely on the reality of your business – your current challenges, your opportunities, your future goals and ambitions. Because of this, the journey and the way you apply your learnings, as well as the benefits you gain, will be unique to you.

How does it work?

The BGP is built around a core developmental process whereby each individual participant develops their own growth strategy for their own business and a plan to implement that strategy.

To enable this, the programme consists in a simple yet rigorous structure, comprising of three key blocks of strategic thinking:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where are we going?
  • How do we get there?

Content is delivered by means of lectures from Cranfield University faculty and associates, all experts in their fields and with proven business experience. They key themes that lectures fall under are:

  • Internal Processes
  • External Influences
  • Strategy
  • Leadership

Topics such as strategy, marketing, sales, finance are all covered within these key themes.


Stephanie Hussels

Current activities Stephanie has a passion for early stage and growth companies, particularly family businesses. As part of her role at Cranfield School of Management she is the Director of the Business Growth Programme (BGP), the longest established owner-manager programme in the UK. Previously,...

Jerry Sandys

In the last 35 years, Jerry has successfully started and grown four companies. In the mid-eighties, Jerry’s inspiration was to concentrate on the telecommunications market he thought was about to boom. This led him to form Telecom Design Ltd. in 1987 with an investment of £1000. TDL was a design ...

Cliff Bowman

Background Economist for the UK Civil Aviation Authority 1974-1980 Senior Lecturer then HoS Humberside CHE 1980-1988 Cranfield 1988-2007 Director of Research Ashridge 2007-2008 Cranfield SOM Professor of Strategic Management 2008-date Current activities Cliff has undertaken a wide range of c...

Carol Foussat

Carol works with Managing Directors in organizations going through change to improve their personal and business performance. She has worked for eight years on the Business Growth Programme with leaders of growing businesses in a diverse range of sectors. She also runs an entrepreneur's club for ...

Peter Swanson

Peter has over 30 years of direct SME management experience, founding his main business in the early 80s, straight from University (Peter has never had a job!). The company supplies materials and related products to high technology manufacturing companies. He has been involved with other sales an...

Yvonne Quinn

A serial entrepreneur, SME owner/investor and leadership coach, Yvonne has worked at Board and Director level, driving the effective achievement of operational, financial, marketing and sales goals. Learning and development is a key specialism. FPM, the company she co-founded in 2001, designed an...

John Kerr

John runs his own management consultancy business, and has over 25 years’ business experience, previously holding middle and senior management posts in large corporates and start-up ventures, in telecommunications, banking, and upstream oil & gas. Joining his last company alongside early-sta...

Andy Howarth

After gaining a degree in Economics, Andy progressed as a leader through the hierarchy in the bookmaking industry (notably becoming the man responsible for deciding the odds for Ladbrokes at major test and county cricket matches). Following an MBA from Cranfield, he spent several years in consul...

David Welling

After gaining experience in senior B2B marketing and business planning roles, David completed 12 years in Managing Director positions before founding his own management consulting practice in 2001. He works exclusively with owner-managed businesses to improve performance and to create and realis...

Dave Abraham

Having sold his previous business, Dave Abraham is now an independent investor, consultant, and director of IS Online Ltd. IS Online delivers a “part-time IT director” for SMEs, with the understanding of both IT, and the business experience and perspective of what a small business and owner needs...

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Business Growth Programme (BGP) at Cranfield School of Management

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