SME Growth Challenge Competition

Closed on 10 August 2017.


The Satellite Applications Catapult is offering two places for CEOs of space ‘scale-ups’ to participate in the SME Growth Challenge Programme from the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Cambridge.

If you are facing a choice between different paths to achieving further growth (new products, new geographies, new markets or healthier margins) the SME Growth Challenge Programme aims to enhance the performance and competitiveness of high potential small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Programme is structured around six one-day workshops which provide access to the latest management thinking, facilitate the sharing of insights about commonly experienced challenges and a range of possible solutions.

The Programme recruits between 10 and 16 ambitious small to medium enterprises with a commitment to achieving extraordinary results.  The ideal entry criteria is listed below, although there is some flexibility.

In 2017, the Catapult will support places for two CEOs to join the next Programme cohort on 21 September.

How to enter

To submit your application please complete the entry form at the end of this page.

All applicants will be interviewed by the Cambridge Judge Business School (JBS) team who together with a panel from the Catapult will select two candidates to join the course. Following selection a member of the Cambridge Judge Business School faculty will visit your company to discuss and assess your needs.

Competition Timings

  • Deadline for applications – 10 August 2017
  • Shortlisting and phone interviews – w/c 14 August 2017
  • Announcement – 25 August 2017
  • Site visit from JBS team to candidate’s office – w/c 29 August and 4 September 2017
  • Course starts – 21 September 2017

Ideal Criteria

  • SMEs with annual sales of £1 million up to £50 million (desirable)
  • Strong historic growth in a combination of sales, profit and/or employee numbers
  • Demonstrable track record of sustainable underlying operating profitability
  • Entrepreneurial, ambitious, talented and broad management team – committed and incentivised

Programme Content

The SME Growth Challenge, using the latest thinking and drawing on decades of experience in supporting growth, recognises that although growing firms face common challenges, each is unique and requires a bespoke approach to achieve its full potential. Through a process of deep engagement with leadership teams, Cambridge Judge Business School will understand the challenges facing each participating business and help them to articulate, and systematically implement, their plans for growth.

The programme, delivered over 12 months, aims to develop each firm’s managerial capability by setting attainable objectives and helping them achieve these objectives through collaborative problem solving and monitoring their progress through key performance indicators.

The programme is made up of a series of six bi-monthly workshops, held in Cambridge, which provide access to the latest management thinking, facilitate the sharing of insights about commonly experienced challenges and a range of possible solutions. These will be augmented by regular company visits from dedicated Cambridge Judge Business School faculty members.

Programme Structure

The programme will begin with an on-site diagnostic visit by a member of the School’s faculty. This faculty member will support you throughout your journey and provide a point of contact within the School.

The topics addressed at each of the six one-day workshops will be informed by the needs identified during the diagnostic phase of the Growth Challenge. They are likely to include:

  • Defining your current business model
  • Value innovation and shaping your value proposition
  • Marketing strategy and tactics
  • Understanding the competitive landscape
  • Developing your leadership team
  • Financing your firm

A key component of the programme will involve collaborative problem-solving and learning from the experiences of other participants. In doing so, CEOs will build the management capabilities of their organisations. These results rest on the condition that the CEOs commit to attending the workshops and seeing their action plans through.

Programme Dates 2017/2018

  • Workshop 1 – Thursday 21 September 2017
  • Workshop 2- Thursday 16 November 2017
  • Workshop 3 – Wednesday 24 January 2018
  • Workshop 4 – Thursday 1 March 2018
  • Workshop 5 – Thursday 26 April 2018
  • Workshop 6 – Thursday 7 June 2018

The Catapult will run additional workshops supporting this programme at a date and venue to be confirmed.


If you have any questions regarding the competition or the SME Growth Challenge Programme please contact Edmond Boulle, Satellite Applications Catapult at

For further information on the course please visit the Cambridge Judge Business School website.


Data Protection

The data from this form will be used to collect details of those who are interested in the SME Growth Challenge Programme. It will remain with the Satellite Applications Catapult and Cambridge Judge Business School SME Growth Challenge programme team.

The Satellite Applications Catapult’s privacy policy can be found here.

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