Business leaders convene to boost SME growth

10ksb pr

19 July 2017

  • 350 small business leaders meet in Birmingham to hear talks on the future of small business growth
  • Guest speakers included Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, Mark Garnier MP, Minister at the Department of International Trade, and Goldman Sachs International CEO Richard Gnodde
  • 97% of surveyed 10KSB graduates forecast positive growth in the next 12 months

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme (10KSB) today convened entrepreneurs, policy leaders, government and the private sector in Birmingham to examine how innovation and internationalisation can boost small business growth. 350 small business leaders from the all regions of the UK were in attendance to hear from the speakers.

At the centre of the event hosted by Goldman Sachs International CEO, Richard Gnodde, were sessions about how high-growth small businesses can use the momentum created by innovation to expand internationally.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, joined to advocate further support for regional economic growth, and Mark Garnier MP, Minister at the Department of International Trade, delivered the closing keynote on encouraging small businesses to export.

Alongside the event, results from a new survey demonstrating the growth, innovation, and global presence of this community were released. Three hundred 10KSB UK graduates were surveyed, with some of the key findings as follows:

  • 97% are forecasting positive growth in the next 12 months, and half are projecting more than 20% growth in revenue
  • Innovation was shown to be strong amongst the group, with 63% of businesses bringing new products or services to market
  • The research highlights the importance of international trade to the UK’s small business community – finding that 49% of respondents are currently active internationally, and the majority of those plan to increase their exports in the next 12 months

Richard Gnodde, Vice-Chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and CEO of Goldman Sachs International, said: “We are proud to support small businesses in the UK and to continue to see extraordinary ambition among 10KSB graduates. Today’s event showcases the ability UK entrepreneurs have to innovate, disrupt, and grow, thereby supporting their local communities and national economic growth.”

Since the 10KSB programme was established in the UK in 2010, 1,200 small businesses have been through the programme, receiving a broad range of training, resources and opportunities to expand their networks.

See below for the details of the day’s events.

An Innovative Mindset

  • Moderator: Simon Jack, BBC Business Editor
  • Lord Bilimoria, CBE, DL, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, and Chancellor of the University of Birmingham
  • Richard Gnodde, Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and CEO, Goldman Sachs International
  • Susanna Lawson, Founder and Director, Onefile, 10KSB UK graduate
  • Holly Tucker MBE, Founder, Not on the High Street and Holly & Co.

Starting Local, Going Global

  • Moderator: Nishi Somaiya, Partner, Goldman Sachs
  • Byron Dixon, Founder and CEO, Micro-fresh, 10KSB UK graduate
  • Tamara Lohan MBE, CTO and Founder, Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  • Andy Street CBE, Mayor of the West Midlands

CASE STUDY 1: Byron Dixon, Founder and CEO, Micro-fresh

byron dixon pr

Byron Dixon graduated from the 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme in 2013, and has since grown revenues by over 450% and created eight new jobs. The business is based in Leicester and has a presence around the world including in China, the US, India, Portugal and Vietnam.

Talking about his experiences, Byron said: “We recently formed a strategic partnership deal with John Lewis to offer a range of products with our anti-bacterial technology to add extra freshness – from mattress protectors and pillows, to bath mats, and a whole range of baby products.

“Finding innovative ways to take our brand to market like this form a major part of our growth – the partnership with JLP is now contributing significantly to the 45% year-on-year growth that we have experienced over the past 5 years.

“There are future opportunities for us overseas too. We are hoping to tap in to the huge American market, where there is a high demand for anti-bacterial products, particularly since the outbreaks of E-Bola and E-Coli in West Africa. During our visit to the US we were able to speak to representatives of several corporations including Google, Microsoft and Honda which we hope will result in new deals.”

CASE STUDY 2: Kavita Parmar, Director, WORD360 Language Services


Kavita Parmar graduated from the 10,000 Small Businesses  UK programme in 2015, doubling the business’s revenues and creating eight new jobs.                                       

Kavita said: “The peer to peer learning opportunities within the programme have allowed us to find solutions to common problems. 10KSB was highly influential in teaching the essential business strategy and financial management techniques that have been essential when positioning the business for high growth.

“We realised that offering translation services to the higher education and business sectors was our best source of growth and redefined our existing interpreting service through innovation – we created a bespoke software system that allowed our service delivery to become more efficient.

“Word360 is planning for aggressive growth over the next three years with overseas expansion and further investment in our bespoke systems. The business is currently undergoing a rapid period of growth and the challenge shall be to ensure that we are able to maintain quality and service levels throughout and continue to build an efficient team.”


Notes to the editor

  • To attend the event and arrange interviews, please contact the press office on the details below. 

About Goldman Sachs

Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world. For nearly a decade, Goldman Sachs has invested in communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world through strategic programs aimed at fostering global economic growth and opportunity, including 10,000 Small Businesses and 10,000 Women.

About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK

10,000 Small Businesses UK is a comprehensive programme of business development and leadership support for small businesses with high growth potential, designed to help them achieve that potential. Piloted in late 2010 and launched in early 2011, to date, over 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the country have graduated from the programme. The 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme is a partnership between Goldman Sachs, the Goldman Sachs Foundation and leading UK universities.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. True to Aston’s Coat of Arms which bears the word ‘Forward’, in 2016 Aston held a year-long anniversary celebration to recognise its heritage and achievements, but with a focus to drive forward the next stage in the University’s exciting journey.

About Micro-Fresh

Micro-Fresh is a Leicester-based business, run by founder Byron Dixon. Their award-winning technology is designed to give long lasting freshness to homeware, footwear and a variety of other products. It was originally developed and crafted in 2006 to prevent the growth of mould on products in transit from the far corners of the world. Micro-Fresh also has additional properties that prevent odour causing and pathogenic bacteria. Today, the brand is used as an ‘added value’ by over 50 retailers, and serves as the ‘go to’ brand for innovation-conscious retailers that want to incorporate freshness into their products. Micro-Fresh recently formed a strategic partnership deal with John Lewis Partnership, providing filled bedding with the anti-bacterial coating – from mattress protectors and pillows, to bath mats, and a whole range of baby products. The partnership is now contributing significantly to the 45% year-on-year growth that Micro-Fresh has experienced over the past 3 years

For media inquiries in relation to this release, call Ben Kennedy, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 4592 or email  [email protected]

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