Cranfield extends its support of Luton-based aviation firms

Luton-based SMEs working in or supplying the aviation sector will be eligible for free coaching and support to grow their business from experts at Cranfield School of Management.

Luton Council is funding 30 places on the University’s Ready for Scale aviation programme for ambitious business leaders looking to take the next step in growing their business.

As part of a new initiative developed specifically for Luton Council, the Ready for Scale programme will be complemented for Luton-based aviation businesses with masterclasses led by expert faculty from Cranfield’s Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC).

Dr Stephanie Hussels, director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, Cranfield’s entrepreneurial hub, said: “With Ready for Scale, businesses undertake the same 12-week growth plan process advocated on our highly-successful Business Growth Programme, which has helped more than 2,900 businesses to grow better since its inception 30 years ago.

“Participants will learn how to critically review their business and thoroughly interrogate what is and isn’t working. By the end, they will have a clear vision and a detailed plan of the steps they need to take in order to achieve it.”

Professor Iain Gray, director of Aerospace, will lead the aviation masterclasses. He said: “The aerospace sector has been identified by the Government as being of strategic importance to the UK economy, and businesses in Luton’s aviation and associated supply chain sector are key contributors to the national picture.

“We want to support these businesses to develop, grow and realise their ambitions, and accelerate them on their journey. This is particularly crucial post-pandemic, and as the industry as a whole strives for net-zero and commits to a more sustainable future.”

Cranfield University is already a hub for aviation expertise, research and development. In 2019, the University was designated a University Enterprise Zone and awarded £1.2 million from Research England to help create a UK Aviation Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship cluster, which is due to be completed next month.

The University already has the Cranfield Eagle Lab on site, a business incubator facility for early-stage companies in the AvTech sector. Developed in partnership with Barclays, the Eagle Lab offers office facilities and communal maker space for businesses at the initial stages of their product design.

AVIATE+ funding is being used to build grow-on workspace for businesses, including private workshops and benches to enable the assembly of larger components with the support of appropriate power and data connectivity.

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