SME Excellence

Professionalise and grow your SME business


FT ranked logo colour

in Executive Education according to the Financial Times




for Learning Impact

Leading a growing SME comes with many challenges – not least, professionalising as you grow. This 10-day programme gives you the support and insights you need to take your business to the next level. You’ll live and learn management theory and techniques. And with constructive input from peers and business coaches, you’ll develop a strategy and growth plan. By the end of this intensive programme, you’ll be ready to leap confidently into the next stage of your company’s journey. 

Detailed programme

This 10-day programme is structured around three pillars. The first is made up of practice-oriented sessions where you apply management theory, models and tools to your own company. The second is peer-to-peer learning with your fellow entrepreneurs. The third is individual support from business coaches. 

You’ll also use Vlerick’s 360° growth capability scan to identify the management areas you need to work on. Then you’ll refine your personal vision for growing your business in a sustainable way. 

There are two tracks to follow: 


Module 1: Entrepreneurship, growth and strategy 

  • Understand why strategy is as important as daily operations 
  • Assess your business model and begin to plan a winning strategy 
  • Identify your growth phase and the challenges that come with it  
  • Explore the capabilities you need to achieve sustainable growth 
  • Visualise the process to translate your strategy into operational KPIs and actions – using tools including Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard 

Module 2: Marketing and sales

  • Discover how to set up and develop a sales strategy, including performance metrics 
  • Learn to proactively manage your sales pipeline by evaluating the resources and people you need to meet your targets
  • Become more customer centric and develop a unique value proposition 
  • Identify technology that can add value to your business

Module 3: Leadership and people management

  • Reflect on your leadership skills – and identify areas to improve
  • Learn to customise your approach to motivate your employees to perform better
  • Examine how to attract the ‘right’ employees to your organisation
  • Explore ways to keep talented employees on board – and coach them along the way
  • Learn to say yes to delegating responsibilities, as well as outsourcing tasks

Module 4: Financial management

  • Learn to interpret your financials and evaluate your company’s financial health
  • Understand the questions to ask financial advisors so you can improve financial reporting


  • Carry out a thorough analysis of your current business practices – including your own management performance
  • Draw up a strategic growth plan that maps out your company’s future plans – and translates them into milestones, actions and objectives 
  • Get expert, tailored advice from a unique panel of experienced entrepreneurs, alumni and management professionals
  • Take part in three individual coaching sessions – and come away with a concrete strategic growth plan for your SME

Why this programme

  • Discover how to make your employees less dependent on you by working on – instead of in – your company
  • Analyse your performance and make strategic choices for the future, with guidance from a panel of experts
  • Assess your organisation from a strategic perspective and identify your next growth phase
  • Put systems and processes in place to professionalise your business
  • After graduating from this programme, you are entitled to join our alumni network. Visit the Vlerick Alumni website for more information

Who should attend

  • SME owners with at least 12 full-time employees, who want to professionalise their company’s management 
  • Managing Directors or CEOS of SMEs with at least 12 full-time employees

Practical info

To apply for this programme, you need to complete four steps:

1. Check your eligibility: Check if you meet the admissions criteria for the programme you want to apply for.

2. Submit your application: Fill out the application form and upload it together with your cv or LinkedIn profile.

3. Take part in an interview: When we receive your application, we’ll get in touch to set up an interview. This will take about an hour and will cover:

  • Your professional experience and current challenges
  • Your career ambitions
  • Why you want to take the programme
  • Which electives are right for you (if the programme includes electives)

4. Confirm your registration: If you pass the interview, we’ll send you a registration form. You’ll have two weeks to complete and submit the form to confirm your programme place.


Steve Muylle

Steve Muylle

Professor of Digital Strategy and Marketing

Steve Muylle creates business impact with actionable insight about digital technology.

Hans Crijns

Hans Crijns

Professor of Entrepreneurship

Hans Crijns shares insight into entrepreneurial processes and what they could mean for you.

Koen Dewettinck

Koen Dewettinck

Professor of Human Resources Management

Koen Dewettinck improves the way we manage people to boost engagement and performance.

Mathieu Luypaert

Mathieu Luypaert

Professor of Corporate Finance

Mathieu Luypaert explains how insights into financial figures and decisions can lead to value creation.

Frank Goedertier

Frank Goedertier

Professor of Marketing

Frank Goedertier is passionate about marketing, customer journey management, brand strategy and impactful public speaking.

Miguel Meuleman

Miguel Meuleman

Professor of Entrepreneurship

Miguel Meuleman is passionate about the process, people and investors behind new venture ideas.

Filip Roodhooft

Filip Roodhooft

Professor of Management Accounting

Filip Roodhooft shows you how the finance function can be a valuable business partner for your organisation. 

Kurt Verweire

Kurt Verweire

Professor of Strategy

Kurt Verweire is a specialist in helping companies to develop and implement winning business strategies.