Industrial Fellowships awarded to alumni

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

9 June 2015

Aston University is proud to award Visiting Industrial Fellowships to eighteen Alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme, in recognition of the contribution they have made across the university to the understanding, experience and awareness of business growth and entrepreneurship. 

This is the second time that members of the 10,000 Small Businesses programme alumni have been recognised in this way, with thirty one business owners now holding this title. The selected business owners, who will be Fellows for a two year period, come from a variety of business sectors. Through their engagement, they have supported Aston University, its students, research and staff in a range of activities such as KEEN and KTP projects, engagement through the SERV programme, social impact projects with MBA students, involvement in policy development and lobbying through the university, recruiting students and graduates to their businesses, and by acting as case studies in taught modules. 

Our Visiting Industrial Fellows were awarded their title at a dinner event held at Opus Restaurant, Cornwall Street, Birmingham on 3rd June, 2015, attended by Professor Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Programme Director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Midlands programme and Professor George Feiger, Executive Dean, Aston Business School. 

Professor George Feiger said: “I am delighted that another eighteen of the 10,000 Small Businesses programme alumni have been awarded Visiting Industrial Fellowships. These entrepreneurial business leaders are making a great contribution to the work of Aston Business School and in fostering relationships between the small business community and Aston University." 

Sarah Crawley, CEO of iSE, a social enterprise development agency that grows and develops new and existing social businesses is one of the alumni to be recognised as a Visiting Industrial Fellow. Sarah has hosted number of events to engage social enterprises with support available at Aston University, and has worked with MBA Students to support their knowledge of the issues affecting social enterprises. 

Talking about receiving the title Sarah said: "I am delighted and honoured to be made a visiting fellow by Aston University. My experience as a participant on 10,000 Small Businesses has been extremely valuable for both the growth of my business and for me personally. I welcome the opportunity to contribute both to the programme in the future and to conversations concerning government policy for support to small businesses and social enterprise."   

Also being recognised as a Visiting Industrial Fellow is Richard Toy, CEO of Auctus Management Group, who offer a range of services covering safety, people solutions, training and community engagement across the infrastructure sector. Richard has worked with the University on a KEEN project, employed three post-graduates though the Post-graduate Internship Project and acted as a case study on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme. 

Richard said: “I am honoured to be made a Visiting Industrial Fellow by Aston University. I value the support and opportunities I have had to engage with both Aston Business School and the wider University community since joining the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme. I particularly appreciate the opportunity to work with the University’s post-graduates, a critical step in attracting skilled young people into the rail industry."

The eighteen Visiting Industrial Fellows are:

•             Alec Anderson, Koolmill Systems, Solihull (

•             Mike Brooman, Vanti, Birmingham (

•             Sarah Crawley, i-SE, Birmingham (

•             Kevin Davis, The Vine Trust, Walsall (

•             Ruth Devine, SJD Electrical, Milton Keynes (

•             Russell Fraser, Goodflo, Kenilworth (

•             Jim Griffin, Automotive Insulations, Rugby (

•             Greg McDonald, Goodfish Limited, Cannock (

•             Guy McEvoy, Guykat Solutions Ltd, Birmingham (

•             Sean Nicholson, Sign Solutions, Alvechurch (

•             Gary Parkinson, W.E.T. Services Ltd, Tamworth (

•             Damini Sharma, OM Safety Solutions Ltd, Coventry (

•             Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR, Ashbourne (

•             Will Shepherd, Cohesion Recruitment, Solihull (

•             Richard Toy, Auctus Management Group, Birmingham (

•             Simon Wheeler, Canonbury Products Limited, Brackley, Northamptonshire    (

•             Adam Whitehouse, TMT First Limited, Stoke-on-Trent (

•             Gareth Williams, Caplor Energy Ltd, Hereford (   

Notes to Editors 

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, the recently formed Aston Centre for Growth offers leading growth programmes and other opportunities for SME owners looking to grow their business.  Aston is one of only three business schools nationally to hold Small Business Charter Gold status, and has experience of working with hundreds of SMEs to support their business growth on high profile programmes such as Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. The School also delivers cutting edge entrepreneurial research (especially on high growth firms) and is home to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) UK project and jointly hosts the national Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) with Warwick University. 

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. 

Media contact:

David Farrow

0121 204 4887