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Fast start as Growth Hub chief sets out new direction in support for local SMEs

15 November 2022

The Business Gateway Growth Hub’s new Partnerships and Growth Hub Manager hit the ground running – signalling a new approach in how the service will engage with local small businesses.

Salma Manzoor made full use of her arrival in the role coinciding with the start of the Leicester Business Festival, meeting small business owners by attending nine events in her first nine days.

She will maintain the momentum over coming weeks, with plans to meet representatives of district councils, small business organisations, financial institutions, and enterprise teams from the region’s three universities.

“It was perfect timing to start the job just before the launch of Leicester Business Festival,” Salma said.

“It presented an ideal opportunity to get out and about and listen to small businesses speak about their aspirations, challenges and opportunities.”

Salma started with the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) on November 1 and is now actively working to deepen the Business Gateway Growth Hub’s network of SMEs across all sectors throughout Leicester and Leicestershire.

She will use her experience of business strategy and relationship-building to find new ways of showcasing the range of support available for SMEs throughout the city and county.

The Business Gateway Growth Hub helps small businesses obtain funding, provides business toolkits, training, and programmes of support for small businesses in the city and county. Anyone can make contact and learn about routes to growth.

Trained solicitor and former practice owner Salma worked as Key Account Manager for Invest in Leicester’s Inward Investment team prior to starting work with the LLEP.

She supported major direct investment in the region, working for Leicester City Council with partners including the Department of International Trade and Midlands Engine to support foreign-owned companies. This fostered innovation, supported expansion, won funding and led to the creation and retention of jobs.

Salma has previously worked for both city and county councils on commercial property, working on complex developments and regeneration projects including Space Park Leicester, Pioneer Park, Haymarket Health Clinic, and New Market Square. She also has experience of hosting events for De Montfort University Women’s Network from the Innovation Centre and Leicester Castle Business School.

Following the conclusion of Leicester Business Festival on Friday, Salma’s attention will switch to Leicestershire Innovation Festival 23 in February.

“The Business Gateway Growth Hub is leading the working group planning the Innovation Festival and it’s going to be another great opportunity to promote our SMEs,” she said.

“Innovation can be ‘new to business’ changes that increase productivity and quality of organisations of any size.

“That means small businesses too – and we’ve got a strong Growth Hub team to celebrate that happening in SMEs here in Leicester and Leicestershire.”

Salma can be contacted at