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Can small businesses get the UK economy back on track?

Published: 23rd April 2013

A NEW report examining the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme reveals small businesses could be the key to getting the UK economy back on its feet.

The report, entitled Stimulating Small Business Growth, charts the rise of the first 250 enterprises to have completed the intensive four month Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme, run in the North West in conjunction with Manchester Metropolitan University.

Data collected independently from programme alumni and published in the progress report indicates that the intervention is helping participants grow jobs and turnover.

Of those small businesses surveyed:

  • 77% reported that they were employing more people than 12 months previously
  • 66% had increased their turnover year-on-year
  • 53% had increased profitability
  • 92% of the participants were more confident in their ability to grow their business

Creating new jobs

The report highlights the programme is creating regional and national networks of ambitious business owners who provide support to one another - increasing confidence, morale and resilience and creating new business opportunities.

This community now numbers almost 500 entrepreneurs in four regions across the UK (Yorkshire, North West, Midlands, London). Over half of participants have found new clients for their businesses through this community.

Lynn Martin, co-author of the report and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, said: “Small businesses are fundamental to economic growth and innovation, creating new jobs and generating wealth. In these tough trading times, alumni from the 10,000 Small Businesses are a beacon, showing how business can really be done.

"This is a programme that has brought them deep learning, from the course and from each other, new ideas, new ways to do things, new contacts and a strong set of relationships with regional and national entrepreneurs. They are bucking the trend, delivering additional jobs, revenue and benefits for communities in the Northwest and beyond.”

Support and expertise

The initiative, which is supported by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, is designed for the leaders of established small businesses who have the appetite and potential to grow their enterprises. Participants benefit from a high quality, comprehensive package of support and expertise to help them take their businesses to the next level.

One of those to already benefit is Andy Southern, the second-generation business owner of Stockport-based Windmill Tapes and Labels.

The business was one of the first participants in the small business programme at Manchester Metropolitan University and Mr Southern said it helped him develop a robust business plan, a strategy for growth and saw his workforce grow from 34 employees to 50.

Mr Southern, 50, who started working for his father's business 25 years ago, said the course provided the "fresh impetus" he needed.

Growth of enterprise

The 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme is run in partnership between Goldman Sachs, the Goldman Sachs Foundation and five leading UK academic institutions: Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), Aston Business School, Leeds University Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and UCL.

The programme is designed specifically for the leaders of established small businesses who are seeking to grow their enterprises.

Read the full report here.