Browse Catapults
Transport System Catapult - Logo Home

SME Development Team Lead

Type: full
Location: Milton Keynes London
Reference: CPC265

Who Are We? 

Connected Places Catapult (CPC) is the UK Centre of Excellence for urban innovation and mobility with a role to catalyse the innovation market in the UK and globally. From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.


Purpose of the role

This is a dynamic team leadership role responsible for the day-to-day running of our SME Development Programme to ensure it runs smoothly. The successful candidate will manage the day-to-day running of our SME Development programme, identifying and developing the best innovating SMEs, to help them drive growth in the UK market. Working with external partners, direct reports and colleagues across the business, you’ll play a key role in identifying the next generation of disruptive SMEs in the key domains of mobility, critical infrastructure and built environment. Developing and delivering exciting opportunities to grow innovating SMEs in the Connected Places market and introducing them to real commercial opportunities. You’ll also be creative, fast-moving, self-motivated, work to a consistently high standard and be passionate about the broader SME landscape. The role reports to the Director of Academic & SME Development.  It will also work closely with the Business Engagement, Delivery and the Marketing and Communications Team, to help create and operate an innovation factory that successfully introduces new products and services to the transport industry.

This will require the individual to assist in building and managing new and existing propositions from the point of concept to delivery of SME Development propositions, working with internal and external stakeholders (SMEs, Government, Academia, and Larger Corporates) to align activities to propositions and proof of concepts. Identifying, implementing and managing supporting tools and systems to operationalise activity. There will also be the requirement to work with those stakeholders to develop sustainable businesses mapping against the relevant KPI matrix to increase GVA and show impact.


Key Responsibilities

  • Actively leads and guides the team, by providing excellent frontline management to the members of the SME Development Team; including setting objectives, providing performance feedback, resourcing to projects, communicating corporate messages, and daily management.
  • Lead on deliverables for projects requiring SME Development activity.
  • Drives operational processes and compliance within the team.
  • Build, lead and manage the SME Development Programme in delivery of programmes, cocreation, and projects across the Catapult.
  • Ensures the team and programme deliver against KPIs and delivery plan.
  • Drive team productivity and quality of the team’s deliverables, including quality control.
  • Nurture a supportive and productive culture that upholds the mission and values of the Catapult.
  • Working with stakeholders (internally and externally) to develop exciting SME propositions and related concepts to help solve industry challenges, including identifying and on-boarding industry partners who can support programmes through investment and in-kind expertise or facilities.
  • Oversee the SME development activities, including but not limited to: marketing; working on calls and bids to support the wider business programme through SME development, and holding events that support and promote the programme.
  • Preparing communications regarding SME activities, and working closely with the corporate branding and communications team to broadcast information publicly via our website, social media and blogs.
  • To develop and deliver a high-quality plan that supports SME growth, achieving established targets and strategic outcomes as outlined in CPC’s strategy and delivery plans.
  • Take a lead role in managing the Customer Relations Management (CRM) system, ensuring all SME entries are maintained accurately and in a timely manner.
  • To ensure that all SME enquiries and SME relationships at the Catapult are managed efficiently and provide, create, lead and manage the relationships for a range of propositions and business opportunities to support the Catapult brand and business development activities in the marketplace on behalf of our SME partners.
  • You may be required to undertake any other reasonable tasks commensurate with this role and/or within your capability to enable the Catapult to realise its strategic objectives.
  • Develop and evolve the wider SME community offerings to develop a sense of community across the programme.
  • Develop and own key relationships with other members of the eco-system, such as investors, corporates, mentors and coaches.
  • Manage and track budgets relating to programme delivery.
  • Effective monitoring and evaluation of programme activities, to lead on and deliver an impact report at the end of the programme to update stakeholders on progress
  • Line manage SME Development Managers and to matrix manage across the Catapult and our networks
  • You may be required to undertake any other reasonable tasks commensurate with this role and/or within your capability to enable the Catapult to realise its strategic objectives.


Required skills and experience

  • Managing cross disciplinary teams to deliver complex, high-impact SME support programmes in challenging sectors.
  • Experience of running both teams and project delivery, including excellence in team building and person management skills.
  • Actively shares knowledge and serves as a best practice resource to team by keeping abreast of market trends, opportunities or challenges
  • Hands on experience developing propositional concepts from the ground up that help address the barriers to innovating SMEs working in mobility and smart cities or analogous sectors.
  • Experience and knowledge of SME ecosystem across the UK, in particular those with relevance to data and technology in mobility and smart cities.
  • Experience of presenting to individuals and groups including at board level and senior external stakeholders.
  • A proven ability to lead and work as a member of a team, influencing a variety of stakeholders across the spectrum of industry, academia and government.
  • The ability and knowledge to successfully match businesses with the most appropriate support.
  • A comprehensive knowledge of different sources of finance, both grant and commercial.
  • Experience of working with different types of organisations including corporate, academic and public sector.
  • A structured approach to delivering a programme of work to a consistently high standard.
  • Experience of managing a small team to deliver complex and high-value SME support programmes.


Desirable Skills and Experience

  • Qualified to degree level
  • Experience of commercial bids, proposals and tenders
  • Knowledge of virtual delivery and CRM tools
  • Knowledge of community support platforms and tools.
  • Demonstrable prior experience working in a business engagement role.


Personal Characteristics

  • High level of organisation and time management – the ability to get things done!
  • A keen interest in working in the tech and transport industry
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Good writing skills
  • Right to work in the UK
  • Self-starter and motivator
  • Excellent person organisational skills, with the ability to prioritise your own work, and coordinate the work of other team members within the wider programmes.
  • The capability to work autonomously and as part of a team. You should be a real self-starter who is able to make things happen.
  • Excellent inter-personal relationship skills, and the ability to influence others.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with fluency in English an essential requirement of this role.
  • Familiar with MS Office and Excel



  • Working with SMEs and stakeholders in an support environment
  • Experience working within the mobility, urban planning, architecture, built environment, cities/local authorities, digital technology or related domains would be highly advantageous.
  • Knowledge of the financial and practical support available to SMEs.
  • Passionate about SME development

Apply for this job