Lancashire businesses have the chance to follow a sustainable path to ‘good growth’ and greater profitability, thanks to a new, fully-funded programme from Lancaster University Management School.

The ‘Good Growth’ programme – the last Lancashire Forum initiative to be run by Lancaster University – aims to equip SMEs from across Lancashire with everything they need to embed important environmental and social responsibilities into their ambitions for the future.

Recognising that businesses expanding ‘at all costs’ and to the detriment of others won’t cut it in society anymore, a new, practical programme is being launched which considers external factors like the environment, community and social justice that affect every decision maker in today’s business world.

The programme is being launched at a crucial time for UK firms. Businesses are caught in the aftermath of Brexit and a global pandemic, the rising cost of living and now face an impending recession – so external pressures are mounting fast. While many may have ambitions to grow and build a healthy future, it could be tempting to stick to the ‘status quo’ and focus on each day as it comes. However, experts say that by taking broader external factors into account and embedding the principles of ‘good growth’ into the heart of their firms, senior decision makers will be able to design effective strategies and pave the way for long-term – and more lucrative – success.

The five-month programme has been designed around the findings from latest, cutting-edge research from Lancaster University Management School and is led by one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of leadership learning, Professor Steve Kempster.

“The outdated, short-term ‘growth at all costs’ approach is exploitative and the damage can be considerable – both to businesses and wider society,” Prof Kempster explains. “Research reveals good growth isn’t just about ‘doing the right thing’ – businesses that have sustainable and purpose-led growth strategies actually outperform their competitors and are more profitable in the long-term.

“Good growth is about increasing turnover and profit but doing this in a sustainable way that enhances relationships with partners, suppliers, customers, employees and our communities. By embedding this principle, not only will you survive but you will become a healthy business on a firm platform to accelerate towards growth.”

Beginning with a two-day residential, the Good Growth programme will be followed by a series of one-day workshops over the course of five months. During this time, delegates will establish their firm’s purpose by assessing how each dimension of their business contributes, creating a baseline that they can build on and measure growth against. They will then explore and consider how their business practices can contribute to solving local and global challenges in a way that enhances value for all – owners, employees, suppliers, customers, the community and the planet.

Prof Kempster continues:

“When we think of a good person, it is primarily someone who produces a deep underlying feeling of trust, integrity, support and engagement.

“A good business is the same. Employees who are fully engaged, have a clear sense of meaningful work and are appropriately remunerated are more productive, do higher quality work and give better customer service. By creating a system of good value which flows into and out of the business and up and down the supply chain, you create a healthier organisation and a healthier eco-system which can grow with positive outcomes for people, place and the planet.”

Good Growth is fully funded and available to Lancashire SMEs in any sector who employ between 5 and 250 employees and have an annual turnover of less than €50 million.

The face-to-face programme starts on 2 February 2023, running until June 2023, and is supported by Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

Good Growth is the final initiative Lancaster University will run as part of Lancashire Forum. Lancashire Forum – part-funded by the ERDF and run in conjunction with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) – has been running since 2016 and has helped more than 400 of the region’s SMEs since its launch. It has also helped create more than 115 new jobs through the project and assisted the region’s businesses to launch more than 45 new products, services or processes.

To register your interest for the Good Growth programme, visit

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Published On: January 4th, 2023
Lancaster University