Business Ideas Growth (BIG) Programme 2022

Business Ideas Growth (BIG) Programme 2022

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The Business Ideas Growth (BIG) programme is now sold out. Please register for the wait list. If a space opens up, you will be contacted.

A series of 7 interactive workshops to develop your start-up idea, focusing on business model development, sales and pitching.

About this event

Business Ideas Growth (BIG) Programme 2022

Gain the experience and confidence required to drive your idea forward.

The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre has partnered with the GC Business Growth Hub to deliver a dynamic cohort-led support programme for individuals* from The University of Manchester wishing to start a business.

Focusing on the key elements of building a business, these workshops will allow delegates to explore their business idea, cover financial aspects of developing the business model, understand how to secure their first customers, and practise delivering a funding pitch.

*To take part you must be either a resident in Greater Manchester (including term time addresses) or trading in Greater Manchester (if you have already established your business) and have the right to work in the UK or set up a business in the UK (please let us know if you are on a specific visa i.e. Tier 4, and we can discuss eligibility with you).

Please make a note of the following dates:

Wednesday 2nd Feb 13:00 - 14:30 - BIG Induction

Wednesday 9th Feb 13:00 - 16:00 - Exploring your Business Idea Pt 1

Thursday 10th Feb 13:00 - 16:00 - Exploring your Business Idea Pt 2

Wednesday 16th Feb 13:00 - 16:00 - Business Development

Wednesday 23rd Feb 13:00 - 17:00 - Sales

Wednesday 9th Mar 13:00 - 16:00 - Pitching

Wednesday 16th Mar 13:00 - 16:00 - Online Presence

Wednesday 23rd Mar 13:00 - 16:00 - Action Learning

Session details

Introductory Session - 2nd Feb - 13:00 - 14:30

This 1 hour session will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet the GC Business Growth Hub and MEC teams and hear more about the programme together with an opportunity to ask questions. We will also do some informal ice breakers so the group gets to know one another.

Session 1: Exploring your business idea (Part 1) -9th Feb - 13:00-16:00

This session will focus on your business idea, helping you to clarify the following:

  • Are you suited to start a business? What is your motivation and skill set?
  • What is the business about? You will develop a concise description of products/services, features and benefits, plus who will buy and why.
  • What is the market for your product/service, including size, trends, competition and target market segmentation.
  • How do you set up a business, including an overview of legal structures and pros/cons of each structure.
  • What are the legal implications of starting a business, including insurance and trading legislation.
  • How to do research, including desk and field research, to ultimately evidence the viability of the business idea
  • Branding

Session 2: Exploring your business idea (Part 2) - 10th Feb - 13:00-16:00

This session will focus on financial management:

  • Start-up costs
  • Ongoing costs/ business expenses
  • Costs and Pricing
  • Sources of finance
  • Cash flow-what you need to know!

Session 3: Business Development - 16th Feb - 13:00-16:00

This session will focus on:

  • Developing your business model by working through the 9 blocks of the business model canvas

Session 4: Sales; Securing your first 10 Clients - 23rd Feb - 13:00-17:00

Selling your first product or securing your first contract can be a daunting process. This is a practical and tailored approach to selling which will give delegates a step by step approach, including:

  • Where to find your first 10 clients, linking to market research and field research.
  • How to approach them, linking to branding, marketing and pitching.
  • Cold calling, getting through the gatekeeper, techniques to use and resilience.
  • Negotiation skills, tips and techniques, knowing your product/service.
  • Closing the sale and knowing when to stop.
  • Building a sales funnel, linking to marketing and target setting.

Learning outcomes - A clear understanding of sales technique and how to apply them to their environment, plus a sales plan to achieve the objective of securing 10 clients.

Session 5: Pitching (Part 1) - 9th March - 13:00-16:00

This is a practical approach to pitching to funders which will help delegates to develop confidence and skills when talking about their business. Given the Covid 19 situation the session will also incorporate pitching remotely skills. You will learn to:

  • Describe the problem or challenge you are solving and how your product will help a customer achieve its goals.
  • Communicate your Value Proposition: the benefits that you will bring and the value of your product/services to a client.
  • Highlight the technology, the magic behind your product and if you have IP, how defensible it is.
  • Explain your business model: chosen routes to market, revenue model, how you will reach customers, your go to market plan.
  • Demonstrate track record, even as a start-up, using you and your team's knowledge.
  • Adapt your pitch to different audiences, from funders to buyers and more.

Session 6: Digital Marketing - 16th Mar - 13:00-16:00

This session will focus on how to manage your online presence:

  • Marketing foundations
  • The role of digital marketing in your overall marketing strategy
  • Offline vs Online
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) explained on page and off page
  • How to build your foundations and gradually evolve your presence
  • The role of content as a long term strategy
  • The role of paid ads as a short terms strategy

Session 7: Action Learning - 23rd Mar - 13:00-16:00

Action learning solves problems through insightful questioning and reflective listening. Delegates will have prepared a challenge they would like to discuss with the group and will follow a 20 minute process, facilitated by an adviser, which will guide them towards a solution.

Some common examples addressed during Action Learning:

"Who do I pitch my product to? Should I sell to consumers or retailers?" and "How do I offer affordable services without looking cheap?"

Learning outcomes - This process will help delegates tackle a problem or challenge which may be hindering their progress. Delegates will come out of the session with a written action plan to take forward.

Attendance is preferred for every session.

If you are unable to commit, please discuss with the MEC team at

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