Manchester Metropolitan University

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Supporting UK’s ambitious small businesses can accelerate growth and job creation

Report produced by Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, together with leading academic institutions: Aston Business School, Leeds University Business School, UCL and Saïd Business School


A Progress Report on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK (10KSB) programme - produced by five leading academic institutions, including Manchester Metropolitan University, demonstrates that it is enabling participating businesses to grow faster and create more jobs than they otherwise would have.

Since 2011, more than 200 North West enterprises have benefited from the business growth programme - delivered in the region by Manchester Metropolitan University Centre for Enterprise.

The Report, entitled Empowering Entrepreneurs, Accelerating Growth, is the second of its type and builds on an initial Progress Report published in April 2013.

Analysis in the report compares participants’ performance with that of similar businesses that did not take part in the programme, concluding that the 10KSB UK programme increases participating businesses’ growth by between 10% and 25%, relative to what it would have been without the programme.

The Report further concludes, based on independently collected data, that the strong participant revenue growth and job creation described in the first Progress Report continues well beyond graduation, with 90% of participants growing net employment three years after starting the programme, and 88% of participants growing turnover.

The initiative, which is supported by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, is designed for the leaders of established small businesses who have the appetite and potential to grow their enterprises. Participants benefit from a high quality, comprehensive package of support and expertise to help them take their businesses to the next level.

On average, participants are growing employment between 16% and 26% per year after participating in the programme, and growing turnover at between 23% and 42%, depending on when they graduated.

Michelle Pinggera, International Chief of Staff for Goldman Sachs, said: “Small businesses are key to the UK’s growth prospects and the health of the wider economy. The innovation, growth and employment opportunities they foster have a widespread impact across industries and communities. We are delighted with the impact the 10KSB UK programme has had to date and look forward to seeing continued progress at the participating businesses. We hope the success of the programme will demonstrate the lasting effect that these initiatives can have and encourage others to support small business growth.”

Professor Lynn Martin, Director of the Manchester Metropolitan Centre for Enterprise and Co-Author of the report, said: “Graduates from the 10,000 Small Businesses programme are a beacon of success, showing others how it is possible to create jobs and  prosper. This practical programme helps businesses to achieve a real strategic step change in their operations and management - to build robust businesses and lay the foundations for long-term, sustainable growth. The benefits are felt by communities in the North West and beyond.”


Among the many graduates reaping the benefits of 10KSB is Amanda Ball, Managing Director of Denton-based AD Sprinklers, which doubled its turnover in one year. 

Amanda decided to setup her own business in 2006 after a successful career in the industry. The Manchester company supplies and installs fire-safety sprinkler systems to well-known brands throughout the UK

By 2013,whenshestartedtheGoldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Centre for Enterprise, AD Sprinklers was  doing well. Turnover was £1.5 million, but growth had flatlined, and Amanda felt she had “fallen out of love with the business a bit”.

The process of applying for the Goldman Sachs programme and meeting other entrepreneurs reminded Amanda just what a great businesss he had. “When I talked to other people about their businesses,I realised how good my own business was,” she says. “The biggest thing the programme gave me from day one was confidence.”

As Amanda worked on her growth plan, she started to see a bigger picture of her industry.“When I created a competitor map and looked at the half a percent market share I had,I realised we could do more,” she says.

She also started to imagine what her business needed to look like in order for turnover to double.

"I drew an organogram to picture the vision while on the train after one of the modules and it became the focus for doubling our turnover to £3 million in three years."

Amanda made sure that the staff at AD Sprinklers were also involved in the programme, too. After each module, she would think about how to take the activities and lessons from the day and share them with the team to get their buy in. The results speak for themselves.

A significant element in Amanda's restructuring was handing over the day-to-day running of the business to a  general manager, which freed her up to focus on the future.

It was a decision that has paid off.Amanda’s initial plan to double turnover to £3million in three years was achieved in one year. She now has a new organogram on the wall, which envisions how she will increase turnover to £5 million in the next two years.

We’re on track to do it,”she says.

Read other business growth case studies here.

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