Eighth Midlands cohort graduate from Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Cohort 8 Graduation

12 October 2015

Aston University is proud to announce the graduation of the eighth Midlands cohort of small business and social enterprise leaders from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme. Classes for the eighth cohort began in March and ran through to July 2015.

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 22 nd September. Businesses in the eighth 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 £3 million. They were recruited from across the Midlands, including Birmingham, Lichfield, Telford, Leamington Spa and as far afield as Herefordshire and Oxfordshire.  . 

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 said: “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 nearly 250 small business owners and social enterprise leaders who are playing an important role in the economic growth of this region."

One graduate of the eighth Midlands programme, Jane Hatton, Founder and Director at Evenbreak, a specialist online job board run by and for disabled people, said "The amazing experience and support from attending the 10,000 Small Businesses programme helped me to map out a viable growth strategy for the international expansion of Evenbreak, and most importantly, gave me the confidence to implement this strategy". 

Another participant was Joanne Mackinnon of Welcome Change CIC, Social Enterprise which operates a Café and Community Centre which accommodates a Recovery Hub for people in recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction. When talking about her experience, Joanne said “The course was totally inspiring and every module gave me more and more confidence to progress the growth plan on the ground. Our team will have grown to 11 by the end of this year and I am sure during 2016 we will be adding additional workforce and social enterprise projects”.

Plans are currently being developed for Phase 2 of the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme, which will be launching in 2016. To learn more about the 10,000 Small Businesses programme, as well as hearing from past participants about their experience please visit the website: www.aston.ac.uk/10ksb. Further information can be obtained by email from 10ksb@aston.ac.uk, or by phoning 0121 204 3225. 


Media enquiries:

Kate Angel, Programme Manager, Aston Programme for Small Business Growth, Aston Centre for Growth 0121 204 4523 or


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 in 2014 was 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.