Small businesses could be key to UK recovery


The UK economy is sitting on 'missing millions' as too many small businesses remain static, according to a new report by five leading business schools including Leeds University Business School.

It examines the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme revealing how small businesses could be the key to getting the UK economy back on its feet.

The report, produced by Saïd Business School, Aston Business School, the University of Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and UCL, found that the UK economy could receive a boost if its high growth small businesses can realize their full potential and catch up with their international counterparts.

The report 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 initiative, which is funded by 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.

Data collected independently from programme alumni, and published in the progress report, indicate 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

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.

The report highlights that 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.

Nigel Lockett, Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School, said: “Through working in partnership, 10,000 Small Businesses and Leeds University Business School have created enormous benefit to the Yorkshire SME community. Whilst the impact of the programme will, first of all, be felt inside a business, the longer term impact will be on the local, regional and the national economy, through the creation of employment, the development of business ideas and increased confidence, knowledge and skills.”  

Gav Winter, Managing Director of The Test People, a programme participant, said “It’s a great programme that delivers business benefit right at the heart of economy.  I feel empowered, skilled and confident to push my business forward over the next five years.”

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