Small business ‘at heart of economic recovery’

SMALL businesses could be the key to helping the UK economy to bounce back if they can realise their full potential, according to a new report.

The report, entitled Stimulating Small Business Growth, charts the rise of the first 250 businesses to have completed the intensive four month Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative helps businesses to grow by providing greater access to business education and support services.

Click here to download’s recently published detailed supplement about the programme.

The report, produced by leading academic institutions Saïd Business School, Aston Business School, Leeds University Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and UCL, found that small businesses have the opportunity to catch up with their international counterparts.

Data collected independently from programme alumni, and published in the progress report, indicated that the 10,000 Small Businesses inintiative 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

Participants in the initial follow-up survey reported on average an annual increase of 23% in employment and a 16% increase in turnover on their total baseline revenues of £266m.

Almost 500 entrepreneurs in four regions across the UK (Yorkshire, North West, Midlands, London) have taken part in the programme.

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 North West and beyond.”
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.

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.