New business clubs aim to address skills gaps

Neil Bradbrook

A group of new business clubs has been launched with the aim of helping to solve skills gaps for small companies.

The first has been established in Falkirk, with the clubs said to provide a ‘mini MBA’ over 12 months.

There are three elements. Firstly, there is the Business Club Academy which will run monthly sessions on topics including business plans, branding, websites, sales, marketing, HR, leadership, funding and finance. Secondly, there will be breakfast round table discussions on business topics of interest and, lastly, quarterly networking/social evenings with keynote speakers.

The Business Club has been founded by Neil Bradbrook, MD of Ahead Business Consulting. He said, “This is not another networking group – this is practical face-to-face training.  Small business owners tell us they have never benefited from formal business training, so whilst they have a passion or area of expertise that they have gone into business with, their business knowledge and acumen is often less. I believe this skills gap is the reason most small businesses fail, so we wanted to fix that.

“To address this problem the Business Club has assembled a team of experts in different fields from finance to marketing, to give a three-hour workshop each month to the members. The Academy will train members in all the key aspects of what it takes to run a successful business. The sessions will be very practical and members will be encouraged to implement what they have learned into their own businesses – as the whole purpose is to help their businesses succeed.

“Running your own business can be hard and we aim to provide a support network where owners will feel free to share problems and discuss solutions. We are confident the Club will be a resounding success and once we have established the Forth Valley cohorts, we will be looking to roll the concept out across other regions in Scotland.”

The first club will start in Falkirk on 26 February followed by the opening of clubs in Stirling (April) and Alloa (May). A launch party is planned on 18 Feburary at the new Forth Valley Campus in Falkirk and will be hosted by Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills. Each club will have a maximum of 24 members and the annual subscription is £480. Partners and supporters include Forth Valley College, Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, Falkirk Business Hub, Kerr Stirling Solicitors and Campbell Dallas Accountants.

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