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The Progress Group

The Progress Group joined our Rapid Innovation Sprint programme. The programme, delivered by our Productivity and Innovation Centre, offers intensive fully-funded support that helps to address SME’s growth and scale-up challenges and opportunities, and helps to develop financially feasible solutions.

Facilitated by our team within the University, The Progress Group recognised an opportunity in the market for one of their subsidiaries – Progress Schools, an alternative education provider with independent secondary schools throughout England. The opportunity centred around the provision of virtual education services aimed at schools and local authorities (including the delivery of enabling projects). The integrated technology platform would allow Progress Schools to provide a seamless and engaging journey for young people by applying the Department for Education guidelines in both a virtual and hybrid environment, the demand for which had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To capitalise on the opportunity, we helped them to formulate a commercialisation strategy. We helped them to explore the opportunity in terms of scope and capability to ensure the new service was capable of generating recurrent revenue streams. From this the company realised a bold and innovative approach to virtual learning was required. However, to successfully do this, they needed to secure investment from their board of investors to deliver this transformational project through an accelerated business growth plan. The development of a business case for investment funding was therefore needed. Alongside this we helped them to identify improved efficiencies and productivity through the realignment of processes to ensure the best outcome for their students. Within two months of completing the programme, they were granted over £1m in innovation funding from their board to develop and launch their new service offer. New digital technology adoptions were also required to integrate into the new service along with the recruitment of a number of new roles. Through streamlining the service delivery and processes, The Progress Group have also increased their efficiency by 25%. As a direct result of the project’s success, the University and The Progress Group have secured an additional £200k funding to undertake a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. The partnership will embed Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to support the ongoing design and delivery of the Virtual Alternative Provision of secondary education to learners unable to attend physical mainstream schools.

The Rapid Innovation Sprint Programme has completely transformed The Progress Group. The programme gave us space to holistically look at our strategy to scale-up. As a direct result of the programme, we have been awarded over £1.2m in funding and are pursuing a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Edge Hill University. I would encourage all SMEs looking to grow to participate.”

Sumita Chopra, Transformation and Innovation Director – The Progress Group

Our Rapid Innovation Sprint programme is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as the lead Authority.