Government Help to Grow scheme – what’s it all about?

Business leaders are benefiting from a government management scheme specifically designed to develop potential and boost growth. Read on to find out more about the scheme and how it’s supporting UK SMEs.

*This article was updated on 25 July 2022*

What is the Help to Grow scheme?

The scheme includes two programmes to support SMEs: Help to Grow Management and Help to Grow Digital.

1.       Help to Grow Management is a government-supported management training and networking programme to help SME leaders around the UK meet today’s business challenges. The 12-week programme, which is 90% subsidised by the government, is designed to help senior managers of SMEs reach their full potential, learn from peers and network with other businesses.

2.       Help to Grow Digital provides tech support and allows eligible businesses to apply for a discount of up to 50% towards the costs of buying cutting-edge approved software for customer relationship management (CRM), digital accounting and eCommerce, worth up to £5,000. The scheme will also be launching 1:1 advice on digital tech adoption later this year.


How will the scheme benefit SMEs and SME leaders?

Help to Grow Management

  • Time -efficient: This programme’s been designed so senior leaders can complete the programme alongside full-time work.
  • Expert advice: It’s being delivered by a consortium of world-class business schools across the UK
  • Community-led: The programme’s been developed in close partnership with the business community to ensure it’s as practical and relevant as possible.


Leaders taking part in the programme will benefit from:

  • Training on leadership, marketing, employee engagement, financial management, competing internationally
  • Support from a business mentor
  • Peer-learning sessions
  • Access to an alumni network
  • Help to develop a business growth plan


Help to Grow Digital

  • Technology support: This programme offers free impartial online support to help SMEs identify their digital technology needs, assess technology purchasing options and implement new technologies in their operations.
  • Discount on tech solutions: Eligible SMEs (which includes up to 1.2 million UK businesses) will also be able to claim a voucher covering up to 50% the costs of approved, technology solutions up to a maximum of £5,000. 

These include:

1. CRM software – to build customer relationships and increase sales

2. Digital Accounting software – to manage their accounts and finances digitally

3. eCommerce software – to ramp up their sales and tap into new markets

  • Coming later this year: 1:1 advice for small and medium-size businesses on digital tech adoption.


Find out more about Help to Grow Digital


Are there entry requirements?

Help to Grow Management is for SME leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • UK-based business
  • Business must have between 5-249 employees and must have been operating for more than one year.
  •  Leader should be a decision maker within the business (e.g. CEO, Finance Director, MD).


Help to Grow Digital is for SMEs which meet the following criteria:

  • Business has between 1 and 249 employees.
  • Is registered in the UK at the relevant Companies House or is a registered society listed on the Financial Conduct Authority’s Mutuals Register.
  • Has been trading for more than 12 months prior to the date application.
  • Is purchasing the approved software product for the first time. Businesses will not be permitted to purchase an approved software product that they already own or have an active subscription to.


How is NatWest Group involved?

We’re providing support to help promote and make the programme successful, including running events across the country to highlight and raise awareness of the Help to Grown scheme, and working with the Help to Grow team to design an added value support programme for alumni cohorts through tailored content, collaborative events and access to follow-on support programmes. We’re also providing financial support to the scheme, alongside other banks.


A word from our CEO Alison Rose on the benefits of the Help to Grow scheme for SME leaders:

“It’s critical that you invest in yourself as a business leader, I think that’s one of the most important things you can do. It just makes good business sense which is why the Help to Grow Management programme is a great opportunity for leaders in SMEs to learn new skills and grow their business. It’s important as business leaders that we keep learning from others, from our peers and experts and the Help to Grow Management programme offers just that.”


How to get involved

Visit the Help to Grow website  to find out more about the Management or Digital programmes and apply.

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