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How to apply for the government's new "Help to Grow" scheme - your questions answered

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Yesterday, as part of the 2021 Budget, the Government announced a £520m “Help to Grow” scheme, to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK. The scheme will provide eligible companies with digital and management support  and training to help them innovate and grow.

The scheme is being split into two strands:

  1. Help to Grow: Management; and
  2. Help to Grow: Digital

The former intends to give businesses access to an ‘Executive Development programme’ for its leaders, which aims to help improve business performance and growth potential, and the latter will give SMEs free online digital advice and money off software.

Eligible businesses can now register their interest for either or both schemes here.  Please see further information and eligibility requirements below.

Help to Grow: Management

From June, SMEs will be able to access a 12 week-programme delivered by leading business schools across the UK. The programme for senior management participants (e.g. CEO, Finance Director etc.) will combine a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network. Modules will include financial management, innovation and digital adoption. Importantly, the programme has been designed to be manageable alongside full-time work.

The Government hope that by the end of the programme, participants will have developed their business skills, as well as creating a tailored business growth plan, which will lead their business to its full potential. 

Key facts:

  • 30,000 places will be available over 3 years.
  • The programme will be 90% subsidised by the Government. Participants will only be charged £750.


  • UK business from any sector. This excludes charities.
  • The business must have been operating for more than 1 year.
  • The business must have between 5 to 249 employees.
  • The participant should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business.

Help to Grow: Digital

This autumn, all businesses will be able to get free impartial advice on how technology can boost their performance through a new online platform. Eligible SMEs will also be able to get a discount of up to 50% on the costs of approved software, worth up to £5,000.

Specific details on the software available have not been outlined, but it is believed that vouchers will be available for software that helps businesses build customer relationships and increase sales; make the most of selling online; and manage accounts and finances digitally.

Eligibility for vouchers:

  • UK business from any sector which is registered at Companies House.
  • The business must have been operating for more than 1 year.
  • The business must have between 5 to 249 employees.
  • The business must be purchasing the discounted software for the first time.

Further details on eligibility requirements will be published this summer.

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More information

This guide is for general information and interest only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice. If you require any further information about the issues raised in this article please contact the author or call 0207 404 0606 and ask to speak to your usual Goodman Derrick contact.