Lancaster University Management School has increased the productivity and sales of 250 local companies through its innovative Leading Enterprise and Development programme.


  • In an evaluation of the LEAD programme from 2004 to 2011 (Wren and Jones, 2012), 110 participants were surveyed; around half of the respondents indicated an increase in sales turnover since joining LEAD – a growth rate of 3.5 per cent a year in real terms.
  • For those experiencing an increase in sales turnover, the mean sales increase was about £360,000 a year, of which 37.5 per cent (£135,000) could be attributed to LEAD.
  • Around half of the survey respondents reported an increase in employment. Among these, the mean employment increase was 13 jobs, of which 5.7 jobs were attributable to LEAD.
  • Between 80 and 90 per cent of respondents said that these changes to sales, employment and productivity depended on LEAD to some extent, with over a quarter saying that it was to a 'great extent'.

"The course leaders were infectious in their enthusiasm and telling us that we could actually do it. It gave me support, and above all it gave me confidence." (Gillian Hall, owner of Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses)

About the research

The Leading Enterprise and Development (LEAD) programme, run by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at Lancaster University Management School, is a leadership development programme for small business owner-managers, and has involved over 250 companies.

The programme, which started in 2004, enables entrepreneurs to work on their businesses through a series of workshops, master classes, lectures and networking events. LEAD provides a framework to increase profitability, innovate and grow the business. It focuses on two areas of the business: the business itself and the personal development of the owner-manager.

LEAD participants join a group of 20-25 like-minded entrepreneurs, meeting regularly over a ten-month period to share experiences and discuss challenges.

The programme, which is supported by ESRC funding of the Lancaster University Management School, has now seen more than 1700 delegates spend a year working on their businesses.