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3 minute read

Royal Academy of Engineering launches SME Leaders programme ’19

The Royal Academy of Engineering has opened a new round of applications for its 2019 SME Leaders programme. Delivered by the Academy’s Enterprise Hub, the programme aims to develop the leadership and business skills of the UK’s most promising high-growth SME engineering leaders.

Those chosen to take part in the programme will become members of the Enterprise Hub and receive funding of up to £10,000 towards the cost of leadership training courses. They will also have access to the meeting facilities and informal workspace of the Enterprise Hub’s Taylor Centre in central London for mentoring, one to one coaching, and private business meetings.

The SME Leaders programme has been growing in popularity since it was established in 2017. To date it has supported 53 leaders in engineering across sectors such as space technology, artificial intelligence and manufacturing to unlock investment, prepare for rapid growth and establish company cultures that attract exceptional talent.

Now in its third year, the SME Leaders programme has helped 53 engineering business leaders gain essential business skills and scale up / Picture: Getty/iStock


Applications must be submitted by 16.00 BST on Monday 3 June 2019 via the Academy’s online grant system.

It is essential that leaders of high-growth businesses are able to navigate new markets and capitalise on business growth, particularly in the engineering profession where only 27% of enterprises in the UK are engineering-related.

The SME Leaders programme aims to help founders, managing directors and C-suite executives improve their leadership acumen to capitalise on growth opportunities.

One of the programme’s alumni Dr Cristina Blanco Andujar, Chief Technology Officer at MediSieve, said: “I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the 2018 SME Leaders Programme and found it a great opportunity to further enhance the skills that I needed to scale up MediSieve.”

MediSieve has created a magnetic blood filtration system that has the potential to transform the treatment of blood-borne diseases including sepsis, leukaemia and malaria. Having spun out from University College London in 2015 to commercialise the idea, the company has since raised a total of £2.1M in equity funding and is preparing for its first clinical trials.

Cristina continued: “From my experience, to successfully scale a company you need to have business skills to match. The team at MediSieve is small but we’re growing quickly in numbers and looking to expand into new markets. The SME Leaders Programme has been invaluable in helping me to develop the skills and confidence to manage the team through this next milestone. The 1-2-1 coaching sessions have been especially helpful in this journey. Learning about your leadership style is a fundamental step to transition from an individual contributor to an inspirational leader, which is a key ingredient to scale up.”

10 successful applicants will receive grant funding of up to £10,000 to support training needs and drive business growth / Picture: Getty/iStock


Ana Avaliani, Head of Enterprise at the Royal Academy of Engineering, addd “The SME Leaders Programme has been running for two years and we have been pleased with the progress our current cohort has made – whether raising funds to grow or entering new markets. The Enterprise Hub exists to provide the skills and support we know are essential in inspiring belief in engineering enterprise. We look forward to receiving more high-quality applications for this year.”

Since 2013, the Enterprise Hub has supported over 100 entrepreneurs and SMEs, helping to develop ideas into investable, high-growth companies.

For more information, visit: SME Leaders programme