Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The 10,000 Small Businesses Programme

One often says that there is no such thing as a free lunch. It might not be the case with the Goldman Sachs sponsored 10,000 small businesses programme.

The programme modelled after a US programme of the same name aims to stimulate employment creation and economic growth and has a broad regional coverage, including many areas of relative economic disadvantage. It was first piloted in Yorkshire in 2010, followed by expansion to North West England, the Midlands and London. As of April 2013 almost 500 small business leaders across the country have participated, and approximately 250 new participants join the programme each year.

The programme is designed specifically for the leaders of established small businesses who have the ambition and the potential to generate substantial growth in their enterprises. Participation is by competitive entry and is fully funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundation for successful candidates. Businesses need to be established (at least one year of trading), have between 5 to 20 employees and have growth ambitions. While the programme is competitive, the last cohort in London had 25 successful applicants for slightly more than 100 applications. So it is within reach.

The content covered in the core programme of 12 topic-centred modules is wide-ranging but consistently underpinned by the theme of business growth. The comprehensive nature of this core programme means that participants can both work to develop business skills which they know have been less well developed over the course of their entrepreneurial career, and identify weaknesses and strengths of which they were not aware. The modules take place fortnightly over three to four months.

Monitoring of change in participants' businesses has shown that:
  • A large majority – 77% – of participants report in their initial follow up survey that they had increased the number of people they employed in the previous 12 months.
  • On average participants reported an annual increase of 23% in their net employment over the baseline position.
  • Two thirds – 66% – of participants indicated that, compared to the same period in the previous 12 months, their turnover had increased.
  • On average participants reported an annual increase of 16% in their annual turnover over the baseline position.
Also, almost all (92%) participants reported that they are now more confident in their ability successfully to grow their business than they were before participating in 10,000 Small Businesses UK. The opportunity to work closely with other entrepreneurs, to provide mutual support to others with similar aspirations and to join a dedicated community of like-minded entrepreneurs seems to serve to increase confidence, morale and resilience.

So if you are a heading a small business, if you are eager to grow that business, just go to www.gs.com/10ksb-uk to apply online. Yes, you can sometimes get a free lunch!

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