Nottingham University Business School
Participants from the Executive Programme in Strategic Technical Leadership listen to Dr Jeannie Holstein deliver a session. Jeannie stands at the front of the room and the participants sit in groups at tables with notepads, folders and cups.

Matthew Willson, Managing Director, Freedom Brewery

Matthew Willson, Managing Director of the Freedom Brewery joined Help to Grow: Management at Nottingham University Business School in March 2022.

He explained: “I was attracted to the Help to Grow: Management course as I was aware that as Managing Director of a small, entrepreneurial business I was spending much of my time doing rather than stepping back and evaluating.” 

Based in the Staffordshire countryside, with access to its own natural spring, Freedom Brewery is a craft brewery that prides itself on the quality of its beers. The company produces fine lagers, that are naturally carbonated and matured for a minimum of four weeks to bring out the full flavour of the beer.

Matthew joined the company about five years ago, as an investor and Managing Director. His aim was to drive business growth and the company is now twice the size, in terms of turnover.

Matthew added: “The company had undergone a period of growth, and I felt that I needed the opportunity to reflect, to ask myself: were we doing the right things, had the company grown in the right way? Help to Grow: Management was an enabler that allowed me to reflect and put an action plan in place for a stronger foundation for growth.” 

As a result of attending the course, Matthew has implemented new strategies and refined the company’s mission and vision.

Attending the course helped me realise that I wasn’t acting as the leader that I wanted to be – I was too busy doing the job. Help to Grow: Management enabled me to become the leader I wanted to be, and it has given me a good framework to check back in on myself and my plan.
Matthew Willson, Managing Director, Freedom Brewery

Matthew’s vision for the company is to become the UK’s largest independent craft lager brewery, to inspire people to find their freedom and do what they love. 

He concluded: “No matter how strong and accomplished you are in business, there is always something you need time to think and act upon and Help to Grow: Management facilitates that. If you feel lost in your business, it can help you map a true path.”

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