A small but effective contribution to Scaleup needs
New research shows that Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme is an effective growth builder, but it makes only a limited contribution to the UK’s Scaleup needs.
For leaders of small businesses from across industry sectors this is a ‘high quality, practically-focused business and management education programme’ during which every small business owner develops a customised Growth Plan to direct their organisation’s business strategy and expansion; and it provides networking and peer learning opportunities.
For the cohort of 70 small business leaders selected to participate in each programme (and there are firm criteria – which do include an indication of growth potential), the three-month programme (offered by five leading UK universities) is delivered over 100 hours. It is made up of ten days of residential learning in three separate sessions (each at a different location) in between which are periods of flexible online learning. Each session features education, discussion and peer-group work to enable individual participants to define their growth goals and pool their experience.
The success of the programme is ascribed to a blend of formal learning, mentoring, and peer-to-peer support, which includes:
- specialist workshops
- one-on-one business advising
- business coaching
- access to professional experts
- ongoing support and guidance offered through networking with the resulting community of business leaders.
A just-published survey of past participants indicates that they enhance turn-over and go on to employ more people – more so than comparable businesses in a control group. In line with some though not all of the needs for successful scaling up indicated by the recent Barclays Report, they:
- introduce new processes
- use more financial data
- source new suppliers
- introduce new training opportunities
- develop and launch new products/services
- seek external finance
and above all they
* develop increased confidence.
The latest assessment report focuses explicitly on the successes of the small businesses that it has attracted. But it also ends on what is a sobering note: if the 33,000 other small businesses with profiles like those of the 933 participants to date were to show similar growth, while it would add £4.3bn to the economy, at this rate it will take years to reach just 10,000.
John Whatmore, November 2016