University of Winchester Business School helps to grow a network

27 Mar 2023
Alums with certificates

Completing their studies and gaining a certificate is far from the end of the learning journey for participants in Winchester Business School’s Help to Grow: Management course.

Now they are part of a growing alumni group where they can meet to exchange thoughts and ideas.

The inaugural Help to Grow Alumni event was held on Wednesday evening at the University of Winchester’s West Downs Centre.

Stella McKnight, Director for Help to Grow Management and Dean of Apprenticeships at Winchester Business School, told the gathering: “This is a celebration of your success as leaders of small medium enterprises (SMEs) making positive changes in your business, and a celebration of the launch of the Winchester Business School Help to Grow Alumni group. This will be the first of many events to come.

“The Help to Grow programme asked you to trust us with your precious time and allowed the University of Winchester to support you to achieve your growth ambitions. Help to Grow shines a light on what Winchester Business School can do for local businesses and society more widely.”

Among those attending were businesspeople who had completed the course, members of the current cohort and those interested in joining the course.

Paul Bennett, a course facilitator, said: “The alumni is yours – tonight alone there must be 600 or 700 years of shared experience you can tap into.”

Past participants were applauded as they received their course certificates from Sarah Moore-Williams, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Business and Digital Technologies.

Sarah commented afterwards: “I’m pleased to see the launch of this group which fits in so well with our mission to promote lifelong learning and the exchange of knowledge. I hope many of our alumni and their businesses will go on to benefit from being a part of this.”

Among those receiving his course certificate was Richard Sambrook, managing director of Winchester-based Novatia, which provides IT services and solutions to schools.

“We had developed a software product for schools and the product needed a strategic review – the course gave us the strategic tools to do that in a more objective way,” said Richard.

“My other reason for joining the course was so that I could network with like-minded people from completely different industries to get their ideas.”

Richard said the course had helped his business to grow and he was increasing his staff from 10 to 13 over the next few months.

Large group at Help to Grow

An added attraction at the inaugural event was a talk by top business speaker Neil Munz-Jones, one of the Help to Grow course experts, who is the author The Reluctant Networker.

Neil is a director of mdj2 associates which help retail and consumer-facing businesses 'get more done'. He claims to have gained all his clients from networking. Those clients include Screwfix, B&Q, Argos, Homebase, Poundland, Danone, Hobbycraft and TK Maxx.  

He said the key to successful networking was building relationships founded on trust.  “Be curious, open minded and interested in people,” said Neil.

The next H2G Alumni event will be held on 3 May, which will be a Q&A with marketing and brand expert Emma Easton of Business Bollox.

More details on this event are available from or

Pictured top: Help to Grow Alumni with their course certificates. From left to right: Daniel Gormley - Code 9 Security, Edward du Val - Apsley Farms, Chris Williams - Williams Shipping, Hannah Ward - Great Ballard School, Ben Higgs - Code 9 Security, Richard Sambrook Smith - Novatia, Mark Greenfield - Ultimate High, and Pippa Byrne - Scorpion Vision.

Pictured above: Help to Grow Alumni, current course participants and representatives of Winchester Business School at the West Downs Centre.


About Help to Grow

Help to Grow: Management is an executive development course accredited by the Small Business Charter, with one-to-one business mentor support throughout.

The 12-week course is aimed at decision makers in senior roles at SMEs.

It covers key areas of leadership including strategies for growth and innovation, leading for high performance, financial management and approaches to digital adoption.

The programme is 90% subsidised by the Government and the University currently fundings the remaining 10% to support local businesses.

To secure a place on the next course cohort at Winchester, visit:

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