A new online resource which has been launched with support from the University of Bolton is helping small business leaders develop skills to unlock their potential and grow their firms.

Greater Manchester Leadership Hive is a free, easy-to-use resource for leaders of small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) that brings leadership and management skills together in one place.

Delivered by GC Business Growth Hub and a number of business schools including the University of Bolton, the Leadership Hive signposts SME leaders to the range of support on offer, from mentoring schemes and executive development programmes to advice on sustainability and inclusivity.

The Hive gives leaders access to programmes that will help their businesses to grow profits, improve staff retention and become more innovative, along other benefits.

According to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, business leaders are often unaware of the potential benefits of engaging with leadership and management development.

Improving leadership and management among businesses was one of the recommendations of the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review, which helped inform the design of the city-region’s Local Industrial Strategy.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “Alongside the four Greater Manchester business schools and GC Business Growth Hub and, we’re excited to launch the Greater Manchester Leadership Hive.

“We know better leadership can help improve profitability and increase growth.

"However, it can be hard for business leaders to understand what programmes are available or which is best for them, while others simply don’t have the time.

“The Greater Manchester Leadership Hive brings everything small business leaders need to run their business as effectively as possible together in one place.

"I’m proud that Greater Manchester is supporting its small business leaders as we look to bounce back after the pandemic.”

OPEN SME, a new short-course online learning platform, forms a central part of the Leadership Hive.

Launched earlier this month, the platform is designed and delivered by leading academics from Manchester Metropolitan University, with content developed in partnership with a range of universities including the University of Bolton.

The modular programme is free to access and can be completed at any time.

Director of business growth at GC Business Growth Hub, Janine Smith, said: “Many SMEs have endured a tough couple of years, so it’s right we’re doing all we can to support them as we come out of the pandemic, alongside all the other challenges businesses are currently facing such as inflation, rising costs, and supply chain shortages.

“We’re excited to be working with Greater Manchester’s outstanding business schools to apply their knowledge and expertise to help SMEs, and in turn benefit the city-region’s wider economy.

"From mentoring and one-on-one support to technology transfer partnerships with universities, the Leadership Hive provides easy access to leadership and management support.

“Greater Manchester Leadership Hive offers small business leaders everything they need to lead their business as effectively as possible.”