Get support to develop your growth plan

10 May 2016

Goldman Sachs’ ‘10,000 Small Business’ initiative, led by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and also in partnership with the Aston Centre for Growth, Aston University, and Leeds University Business School, offers business education to help high-growth UK SMEs boost productivity and increase employment.

First launched in the UK back in 2010, the 10-week programme offers a practical education on business management and is delivered through both residential and online learning modules. Each business is supported in developing a bespoke ‘growth plan’ aimed to enhance their productivity, allow greater access to capital, and unlock potential for job creation.

The programme includes formal learning, mentoring, and peer-to-peer support. There are specialist workshops on core business functions and skills, from marketing to leadership, as well as business coaching and one-to-one advice from professional experts. Participants also support one another through group work to help bring to light each other’s challenges and offer constructive feedback on the strategies and plans they develop.

‘The opportunity to meet and swap ideas with other small business leaders from different industry sectors and locations has been a big part of the effectiveness of the programme. Using online collaborative tools as well as residential sessions is a way of enriching those interactions and developing new insights from working in different ways,’ said Megan Morys-Carter, Director of the Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Centre.  She continues, ‘the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme is one of several ways that the Entrepreneurship Centre supports business scale-up, drawing upon insights such as those discussed in the recent “Scale-Up UK” report co-authored by the Centre’s academic lead Professor Thomas Hellmann.’

Previous participant Rich Walker, the Shadow Robot Company commented on working in groups to support one another: ‘At first you think: “How is that going to work between a restaurant, a cleaning company, a haulage company and a robot company?”, but it soon becomes apparent that the problems are the same across all businesses.’

Charlotte Keenan, Head of the Office of Corporate Engagement for Goldman Sachs in EMEA, says that the programme’s flexible, modular format is a particular strength. ‘Participants learn by doing, but importantly they also learn whilst doing their day job. They benefit from having time away from the office to reflect and look at what they are doing through an external lens, but they also benefit from embedding their learning in the day-to-day activities of the business. They can learn something in the morning and put it into practice that afternoon.’

Since its launch, over 900 participants have graduated from the 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the UK. A 2014 report on the impact of the programme showed that, on average, participants were growing turnover at between 23% and 42% per year after participating in the programme, and growing employment between 16% and 26%, depending on when they graduated. The strong revenue growth and job creation exhibited by participants continues well beyond graduation, with 88% of participants increasing turnover three years after starting the programme, and 90% of participants growing net employment.

For more information about the programme and to apply, click here.