Sixth cohort of Goldman Sachs programme graduate

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

10 September 2014

Aston University is proud to announce the graduation of the sixth Midlands cohort of small business and social enterprise leaders from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme. Sessions for the seventh cohort begin later this month and recruitment for the eighth cohort will start shortly. 

Universities Minister, David Willetts, praised the partnership between the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme and Aston University as a ‘shining example’ of how leading universities can benefit small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and drive economic growth, in his keynote speech at the Universities UK Conference earlier this year. 

The programme, which also operates in Yorkshire, the North West and London, is designed to boost local economic growth and job creation through providing a combination of targeted, high quality, practical business education and support services to small businesses and social enterprises from across the Midlands region. 

Participants received their certificates at a dinner in Birmingham on 9th September. Businesses in the sixth cohort represented a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, digital, food and drink, and education and training services. They ranged in size from just under £100,000 in turnover right through to over £7 million. They were recruited from across the Midlands, including Birmingham, Coventry, Telford, Leamington Spa and as far afield as Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. 

Professor Mark Hart from Aston Business School, a globally recognised expert in entrepreneurship and small business performance and recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion 2014, is the academic lead for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the Midlands. He stated: “The participants graduating represent a major success story for small businesses in the Midlands as they embark upon the next stage of their growth. Aston Business School has supported the development of their business opportunities, projected to deliver significant additional jobs, profitable revenues and household incomes for local communities across the region in the next 3 years. These participants will join our growing network of over 165 small business owners and social enterprise leaders who are playing an important role in the economic growth of this region.” 

One graduate of the sixth Midlands programme, Richard Evans, Managing Director, Mechatronic Solutions based in Birmingham, said that the programme gave thema plan which has helped us secure two major new contracts in excess of our growth target.  It has helped with pitching for extended financial support, the recruitment of new talent and the appointment of a New Business Development Manager, the launch of RoboPod our new Packaged robotics, and most importantly, the introduction via the 10,000 Small Businesses network to a major opportunity in India which could lead to a Joint Venture and huge export potential.” 

Another participant, Ian Vickers, Managing Director of MET, in talking about his experience said it was “a challenging yet highly rewarding programme. I wish this programme had been available to me 10 years ago as it will have helped me accelerate the growth of MET significantly. If you are lucky enough to be selected to be part of the next cohort then grab it with both hands”Applications will shortly open for the eighth cohort of the programme in the Midlands, which will take place between March and July 2015.

The programme is designed to provide high quality, practical and focused support for the leaders of small businesses and social enterprises who are seeking to grow their business. It is open to businesses from across the Midlands and participation is by application to Aston Business School. Successful candidates benefit from the following: 

·         a structured, practical learning experience focused on the challenges faced by growing small businesses

·         multiple sources of high quality advice and guidance as they develop a customised growth plan to serve as the roadmap for the business’s future growth

·         joining a group of 25 to 30 selected small business leaders who form a trusted network that provides peer-to-peer support, challenge and guidance to one another in an open, constructive and dynamic learning environment

·         the opportunity to join a growing network of business leaders from across the UK 

Preview events for the seventh cohort are taking place throughout October and November 2014. This will provide an opportunity for leaders of small businesses and social enterprises in the Midlands to learn more about the 10,000 Small Businesses programme, as well as hearing from past participants about their experience. Further information on the preview events and application materials for the programme can be obtained by email from, or by phoning 0121 204 3225. 

Notes to Editors 

10,000 Small Businesses UK

10,000 Small Businesses UK is an initiative to unlock the growth and job creation potential of small businesses and social enterprises across the United Kingdom through providing the resources they need to grow, including greater access to business education and business support services. It is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that a combination of education and support services best addresses the barriers to growth for small businesses. 

The programme is based on an innovative and successful approach to supporting entrepreneurs, as developed through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative and the 10,000 Small Businesses programme launched in the United States in 2009. A programme tailored specifically for the UK market was brought to Yorkshire in 2010 and then to the North West of England in 2011, the Midlands in autumn 2011 and London in early 2012. Programme partners include Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), Leeds University Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Aston University Business School and University College London. 

10,000 Small Businesses in the UK is funded by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation. 

Aston Business School, Aston University is renowned for the quality of its innovative learning and teaching, world leading research and for having a friendly and supportive culture. The School has strong business links, and offers life-transforming experiences that make a real difference to organisations, economies and the global society. Aston Business School is committed to helping small businesses realise their potential through dedicated services which are specifically tailored to meet their needs, and was this year awarded the Small Business Charter Gold Award in recognition of its achievements. The School also delivers cutting edge entrepreneurial research (especially on high growth firms) and is home to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor UK project and jointly hosts the national Enterprise Research Centre with Warwick University.