Michelle Pinggera

Presentation address by Professor Peter Moizer


When Edward VII granted this university its Charter in 1904, he could not have envisaged the enterprising future ahead.  More than a century later, our students can take enterprise modules and start-up ventures alongside their academic studies;  our world-class academic research has been translated into spin-out companies worth more than £450 million;  and our campus hosts educational programmes for local businesses.

Today we honour Michelle Pinggera, Partner at Goldman Sachs,  who, in partnership with the University, helped to establish one such educational programme.  In 2010, she asked the University to work with Goldman Sachs and Oxford Said Business School in a pilot programme for small business owners and social entrepreneurs in Yorkshire and Humberside.  Under Michelle’s leadership, the 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the UK provides practical support, education, networking and mentoring for individuals leading small, high-growth organisations.  Leeds and Oxford would supply the academic rigour and learning, and Goldman Sachs the commercial nous.

Michelle contributed to the development of the curriculum and structure of the programme, which was underpinned by Leeds research on how owners of small businesses acquire new knowledge.  The results have been tangible, and the programme has received considerable acclaim:  more than 250 local entrepreneurs have completed it;  90 percent have increased staffing and 88 percent have grown revenues in three years.  The programme’s success has resulted in it being rolled out in the North West, Midlands and London, and the participation of more than 900 businesses.

Michelle is also committed to philanthropy and the community in the UK.  She is a trustee for the Mayor’s Fund for London and a member of the Business in the Community National Education Leadership Team.  In 2013, she was named among the fifty most inspirational women in British business by the Women Inspiration and Enterprise network.

Vice-Chancellor, I am delighted to present to you for the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Michelle Pinggera.