It was a pleasure to meet with eight local businesses operating within the Cities of London and Westminster, all of whom have participated in the 10,000 Small Businesses scheme run by Goldman Sachs. This scheme looks to equip small business leaders with the skills and tools they need to allow them to turn potential growth into real and tangible success, to the benefit of themselves, their employees and the wider economy. This is done through a programme of tuition and specialist training provided by Goldman Sachs together with leading UK universities.
The roundtable, held in the delicious surrounds of Paul A Young Fine Chocolates in Soho, brought together small business leaders operating in a variety of industries including the medical and bio-tech sectors, recruitment, social mobility, property development and translation services. It was fascinating to learn about the expertise that these business leaders have gained from the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative and the growth that their businesses have undergone in recent years.
Many spoke of the way that their ambitions and aspirations had been developed during the programme, and were able to capitalise on this once they had completed the course. Essentially they had been given the tools they needed to help their businesses reach their full potential. In one case, a representative reported their business’ turnover was forecast to grow by 200% in each of the next three years, an astonishing rate of growth. Additionally all present told of how they had taken on, retained and trained many new members of staff.
Whilst, of course, Brexit remains firmly in the back of their minds as they plan for the coming years, what struck me was the way in which they remained full of optimism and belief in the future. Many spoke of looking to set up offices in other countries, from Central America to south-east Asia, as well as growing their abilities to export to new markets. Not only this, but the high regard in which they all held the scheme stood out, together with the way in which their shared participation had created a brand new community of which they were proud to be a part of, to share ideas and to learn and grow together.
London is a competitive market place (anyone who has established a business at any time in the last thirty years or so here will know that all too well) but what resonated with me was how each of the businesses present was willing to take chances to grow and expand, but also to take the time to invest in their people and develop their skills. They were all fine examples of the entrepreneurial spirit which some say has been dampened in recent years. On this evidence, such assessments are clearly wide of the mark.
I would like to pay tribute to the fine work done by all those involved in the 10,000 Small Businesses scheme, which has helped to develop and support all manner of SMEs from across the UK. If this is something you or anyone you know might be interesting in enrolling on, do follow the below link: