A new programme is being launched to help businesses develop and grow.

The six-month Cumbria Forum, delivered by Lancaster University Management School, works with small and medium sized businesses across Cumbria.

It includes masterclass events, two-day workshops and a full six-month growth programme, which starts on March 24.

Ewan Pullan, LUMS programme manager for the Cumbria Forum, said: “The programme has helped dozens of Cumbrian businesses grow and develop, as a result boosting the county’s economy, creating jobs and benefitting the wider area.

“It is open to small and medium-sized companies from most sectors of the Cumbrian economy, and we would encourage them to become involved and take advantage of everything the Cumbria Forum has to offer.”

The programme is designed to give people the chance to step away from their businesses and get help from other business people, academics and business experts.

It will also draw on research from LUMS into how entrepreneurs learn and grow, and include networking and activities.

Roger Jackson, director of Financial Planning at the Financial Management Bureau in Kendal, took part in a previous programme.

He said: “It has helped us to innovate and develop new offerings, such as a lower cost, more streamlined service that’s designed to appeal to clients of the future.

"What really prompted this in my mind was the ‘Four Ways to Grow Your Business’ session.

"By pulling our ideas into those boxes and breaking it down, we’ve been able to identify how to respond to changing demographics by getting people into the right mindset: ready to transition from the more streamlined route to full financial planning in the future."

The Cumbria Forum is part of the Cumbria Growth Hub and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The management school will be hosting two drop-in events in partnership with Cumbria Growth Hub.

They will take place next Wednesday and on March 25 in the Marketing Suite, Kingmoor Business Park, Carlisle, between 11.30am and 1.30pm.