Business development the focus of a new micro credential

Wednesday 3 April 2024

The new micro credential was created by academics in response to industry needs.

Massey Business School academics Wayne Macpherson and Jennifer Scott

Last updated: Wednesday 3 April 2024

A new micro credential just launched by Massey Business School will provide small and medium enterprise (SME) business owners and managers in Manawatū and Whanganui with the skills and knowledge to develop strategies for growth.

The micro credential, SME business development, was created in conjunction with industry partners and is a result of key relationships between Massey Business School and the local business communities of Manawatū and Whanganui. In 2019, the School of Management launched an initiative BusinessFirstNZ as a way for academics and business leaders to work together to find practical solutions to the everyday challenges businesses face.

Two School of Management senior lecturers, Dr Jennifer Scott and Dr Wayne Macpherson, have been the driving force behind BusinessFirstNZ, which runs regular workshops for businesses on topics they need to know more about, such as artificial intelligence, marketing, human resources, sustainability and more. Both came from professional backgrounds and worked internationally in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore before moving into academia.

Dr Scott says there is an industry-recognised gap in knowledge among small and medium enterprise business leaders and managers, who tend to be highly skilled in their organisation’s operations but lack the understanding of underlying business and management fundamentals for informed and strategic decision-making. In New Zealand, 97 per cent of businesses are SMEs, so helping to address this gap in knowledge is an opportunity for the university.

Dr Scott says the micro credential is a more formal way for the business community to upskill in a way that works for them.

“There is a growing appetite from professionals for micro credentials because it’s a different and more practical way of learning. People are looking to upskill in a way they can receive formal recognition, and this micro credential allows for this.

“We want to add value to the community by helping businesspeople enhance their capabilities, and not only are we supporting professionals’ growth, but business growth which leads to economic growth and prosperity too. Through this course, we provide practical and tailored hands-on support for individual business professionals. We support these professionals to understand and apply concepts directly to their workplace, with a focus on advancing their business in meaningful ways.”

The course is comprised of six two-hour workshops for business owners or employees in management positions who are tasked with decision-making and would benefit from developing strategic management, planning knowledge and skills to apply within their organisation, industry, or sector.

Dr Macpherson says participants will create a portfolio throughout the course and apply the concepts they learn to their workplaces.

“The portfolio, a compilation of the workbook exercises and reflections, will serve as tangible evidence of the participant's ability to integrate and apply the course material to practical, real-world business scenarios and demonstrate the learning outcomes.

“We want to transfer our knowledge to serve sectors and professions through education and in this particular micro credential, people will be able to use their business and make tweaks or implement changes as a direct result of the micro credential.”

Topics will include business planning and strategy, market and industry analysis, operations and risk management, financial management, human resources and succession planning and marketing and communications.

The first cohort has just commenced in Whanganui and the Manawatū cohort will begin in late April. The intention is to deliver the course in other regions from next year.

Find out more and register your interest here.

The SME business development micro credential can be partially funded through the Regional Business Partners Network, delivered by the Central Economic Development Agency and Whanganui and Partners.

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