New Report finds Smaller Businesses are Key to Solving UK’s Productivity Gap

Following Worcestershire LEP’s recent announcement that the County achieved the highest productivity growth during 2012-13, Goldman Sachs has published a report which highlights the importance of SMEs in resolving the national ‘productivity gap’.

Goldman Sachs released the report in partnership with the British Business Bank and the Enterprise Research Centre with support from Saïd Business School, Oxford University and the Scale-Up Institute, whose CEO Irene Graham spoke at last month’s #WLEP15 Annual Conference. Worcestershire LEP is encouraging local SME businesses to find out how they can further contribute to local growth and get involved in the 10,000 Small Businesses programme.

The report, Unlocking UK Productivity – Internationalisation and Innovation in SMEs, finds that smaller businesses have the potential to contribute to UK economic growth in three key ways:

-stimulating innovation

-spurring competition

-accelerating job creation.

UK smaller businesses are key contributors to UK growth, with around 10,000 high growth SMEs representing less than 1% of established businesses in the UK but generating 20% of all UK job growth. Despite this, innovation and internationalisation represent largely unexplored opportunities for boosting productivity growth in the sector.

More than 110,000 UK SMEs have the potential either to start exporting or expand their existing exports. If successfully encouraged, £1.15bn gross value (‘GVA’) could be added to the UK economy in the first year.

There is also evidence of a clear ‘growth ambition gap’ between UK SMEs and their counterparts in other G8 economies. In order to close this gap, the report recommends improvements in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to help build growth ambition – with improved access to capital and expanded business education being identified as critical enablers.

A video has been created to provide an insight into the full report. And the press release is available here.

10,000 Small Businesses programme in the UK

Alongside the report, last month Goldman Sachs announced the expansion of the 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the UK. The 10,000 Small Businesses programme is an investment by the Goldman Sachs Foundation to provide high quality, structured and practically focused support to small business leaders who are seeking to grow their businesses with a view to growing economies.

The programme is designed specifically for the leaders of established small businesses who have the ambition and the potential to generate substantial growth in their enterprises. Participants benefit from a full package of support with a strong focus on structured peer learning and the creation of communities of entrepreneurs.

At a time when further engagement is needed to support the UK economy and boost productivity, the programme will be opened up to businesses throughout the UK, beyond the four current hubs. By expanding the programme’s reach, developing new partnerships and leveraging technology to deliver a new online and residential learning experience, including new modules on internationalization and innovation,10,000 Small Businesses will support the entrepreneurial community and the UK’s overall growth agenda.

The new programme will start in April 2016 and eligible SMEs can register their interest by following the link on the Aston University website. Questions can be directed to the programme delivery team at Aston Centre for Growth on 0121 204 3225.

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “This report by Goldman Sachs and the British Business Bank highlights the important role that small firms can play in boosting productivity across the UK. Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and I want to see more of them growing and creating jobs. There is support out there from Government and from programmes like the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, and I would urge any small firm with big ambitions to consider it.”

Michael Sherwood and Richard Gnodde, co-CEOs of Goldman Sachs International added: “We are very pleased to continue our commitment to supporting high-growth small businesses in the UK through our’10,000 Small Businesses’ programme. We believe the private sector can make important contributions to supporting small business growth, creating jobs and boosting economic growth.”

Ron Emerson, Chairman, British Business Bank, said: “As a champion for smaller businesses in the UK, we are well aware of the importance of high growth SMEs to the nation’s economy. We are therefore delighted to have contributed to this report and welcome the expansion of Goldman Sachs Small Business 10,000 programme.”

For further information view the press release on Goldman Sachs website or contact Fiona Laffan by phoning (0)207 774 9649 or by emailing