Manchester Metropolitan University

SMART Cheshire Innovation Programme

An innovation programme supporting Cheshire and Warrington micro and small businesses.

How are unconventional ideas treated at your company? Does your team feel free to innovate?

 The SMART Cheshire Innovation Programme will help you develop innovation in your business. This could be the development of a new product or process, or even to embed innovation into your workplace. 

The programme supports businesses with less than 250 employees, which are registered within the Cheshire and Warrington area. 

Working with acknowledged business leaders, you will have direct access to proven innovation processes and activities to help your business grow. We can help you in a wide range of areas from finance to leadership.


Request a Callback Register your Interest

Innovation Groups

One of the most highly valuable and regarded aspects of the programme are our innovation groups. These groups create a space for business owners to help each other tackle the most challenging areas of their business in a confidential environment. 

Programme Schedule

The programme consists of four expert-led innovation workshops, supported by innovation groups to help you translate knowledge and experiences into practical business actions. Additionally, each company can benefit from 1-to-1 coaching during the programme.

Induction 9.30am - 4.30pm

Workshop 1: Internal Innovation and Intrapreneurship: 

People, Processes and Products

9.30am - 12.30pm
Innovation Group A 9.30am - 12.30pm

Workshop 2: Stimulating Demand:

Innovative Development of New to Market Products

9.30am - 12.30pm
Innovation Group B 9.30am - 12.30pm
Workshop 3: Leadership and Implementing Change 9.30am - 12.30pm
Innovation Group C 9.30am - 12.30pm
Workshop 4: Innovating through Financial Strategies and Pricing 9.30am - 12.30pm
Innovation Group D 9.30am - 12.30pm
Consolidation Event 9.30am - 4.30pm

Programme Dates

 The programme will last four months in total, and will run with groups of approximately 25 attendees. 

Cohort 4 - Date Slip


Through the support of the ERDF, the programme is fully-funded for eligible companies that:
  • are based in Cheshire or Warrington
  • preferably have 4 or more employees, but less than 250
  • are committed to embedding innovation
  • have been trading for 12 months or more

Case Study

A Platinum Player in the Entrepreneurship Market

Lynda Clarke is an entrepreneur and founder of the Platinum Players Business School. The Platinum Players Business School was founded by Lynda Clarke, an entrepreneur with a background in banking and insurance. Platinum Players was founded to support young people who aspire to run their own business. A platform can be used as a stepping-stone to each people of any age about starting and running a business, Lynda developed this in order to teach people about how to enter the network marketing business – an area she herself has regularly participated in to great success.

The 12-month programme offers participants a community where people can experience how running a business would work, covering areas including finance and hiring an accountant, marketing a product, and brand development. Clients include students wishing to learn skills such as leadership and running their own business, and parents returning from maternity or paternity leave.

Highlights of the SMART Cheshire Innovation Programme

Lynda decided to enrol onto the SMART Cheshire programme as she wanted to take her business further, to offer packaged online qualifications for her students, and wanted to acquire the necessary skills and know-how to do so. She is interested in developing courses aimed at younger people around business, which involve a mix of modern technologies such as social media and gaining business skills from existing business leaders. Mixing with some of the younger business leaders on the SMART Cheshire programme made Lynda more interested in helping young people start their careers in business.

One of the things Lynda says she learnt from SMART Cheshire was to take a different approach to developing a business. Many of the coaches advised her, “Don’t go where it is crowded… go completely in the other direction.”

She also discovered the importance of testing your business ideas on other people to make sure that others agree your idea will work.

“You can shorten your time on your project just by getting together with these people, with the guidance of lecturers and coaches on the SMART Cheshire programme. There is a lot a thought-provoking [material], and to be honest the contacts you have built through that really. I know I have certainly helped some people and put them in touch with people where they might have thought ‘I never would have gone down that avenue’.

You are working with people who are not like-minded…you’re all diverse businesses.”


Impact on you as an Individual

I think it’s really helped me to evaluate the business and where I’m at, to not be so insular and to ask for some help and guidance and not thinking that I’ve got all the answers”. Asking the programme team and participants for advice gave Lynda new ideas and solutions. Being around a diverse range of businesses helped to generate new ideas. “It’s realising that other people have got really good ideas, that can save you a lot of time, save you a lot of money and help you take ideas to market much quicker.


Impact on the Business

The measure of the programme will be the growth of the business and the direction that it takes. I know it will not happen overnight but already I am feeling better about it. It helps you get your focus back. I feel more professional.


Would you recommend SMART Cheshire to other businesses?

Absolutely and I have done already.

Lynda found SMART Cheshire a great way to find out what’s out there. Lynda has been able to offer help and advice to other business delegates and benefit from new contacts with other businesses in Cheshire.

Contact Details

For more information, please get in touch: 


Project Manager: Jane Jones at

Project Administrator: Deborah Simms at


Centre for Enterprise,
Manchester Metropolitan University
Business School,
All Saints Campus,
Oxford Road,
Manchester, M15 6BH,
United Kingdom



0161 247 3871

Request a Callback

If you require additional information about the SMART Innovation Programme, or are unsure if you are eligible, we are happy to have a talk with you. Please submit your details below, and one of our team will call you.

Register your Interest