The programme is fully funded so there is no charge to participants. There is however a time commitment required from those taking part.
Participants will be required to attend all of the curriculum sessions; these are approx 7 hours, normally held every fortnight over the course of around 5 months. In addition there will be work to be done between sessions, including applying the principals learnt in session to your business, attending additional optional workshops and working on a growth plan. The dates of the curriculum sessions are all set in advance and are available on the Applicant Information.
Overall during the period of the curriculum participants should expect to commit around 1 day per week.
This programme requires a big time commitment, how can I justify taking that time out of my business?
This is what some of the programme graduates have to say on the topic:
It is a big time commitment, but then the commitment back to you is equally big. Once you get into the swing of the programme you find you can plan around what you need to do and as long as you remain planned, the benefits of the course start to make a positive impact both on your time and the performance of your business. When you complete the programme you have automatically gained valuable time to implement what you have learnt and to work on your business instead of in it.
Neale Evans MB Advertising
Running or leading a business can be all consuming – the danger is in becoming blinkered rather than focused. The importance of strategic thinking should never be underestimated. The value I gained from the Programme and the benefits I brought to my business hugely outweighed any cost or inconvenience incurred through attendance. And it was really enjoyable.
Gez Walsh, Innergy LPG Ltd
Feedback from the focus groups we ran indicated that whilst business owners might struggle to give up full days of their business time that time with their family was also precious. The timing of the session is designed to balance both business and personal time. It is also aimed at avoiding rush hour traffic times to minimise the amount of travelling time as well.
The Programme is funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundation
Goldman Sachs will not be providing capital to participants. Goldman Sachs and its network of local partners will work with organisations that provide capital to small businesses and social enterprises to help create opportunities for participants to understand and access suitable finance and create a network to help them to achieve their goals
Stuart Jones, of Wewow, who completed the programme in February 2011 gave us his opinion:
In so many ways, high-calibre business owners who all want to grow their business and learn from each other. Excellent academic elements delivered by very experienced facilitators/tutors, an active alumni and of course the backing of one of the world’s largest investment banks.
Janette Elliott of Elliott Hygiene had this to say about the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme:
I found this course entirely inspiring, surrounded by like-minded business people. From day one we were encouraged to and indeed demonstrated the ability to trust and to help each other.
As there was no real conflict between business sectors within the group (as the resulting business types revealed the selection process had been carefully orchestrated to ensure this was the case), the programme and its many advisers presented us each with a healthy, rewarding and at times a very challenging forum to develop as individuals. This did inevitably at times present a steep self-learning curve for some or a comfort area for other, depending on the subject matter content of the modules.
In general terms Social enterprises are businesses trading for social and environmental purposes. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social and/or environmental purpose is absolutely central to what they do - their profits are reinvested to sustain and further their mission for positive change.
For the purpose of the Programme, we are targeting social enterprises that are commercially-minded organisations (irrespective of legal structure) achieving and sustaining a defined social purpose primarily through revenue generation and less through traditional grant funding
Provided that most of the income is generated through trading and not through grant funding or donations a charity, or trading arm of a charity are eligible to apply.
The criteria are in place as this is who the programme has been designed for, i.e. it is not intended for start-up businesses, sole traders or businesses that are not seeking to grow.
However applications will be considered as a whole; for example, applications from businesses with fewer than 5 employees will be considered where there is high growth potential. Also preference will be given to businesses operating in or on behalf of disadvantaged communities or regeneration areas.
A key element in the competitive selection process will be the ability of participants to benefit from the programme.
We will be happy to discuss your particular situation to help you assess if you could benefit from the programme at this time.
Clare Elsley, of Campus PR said on the topic:
We found completing the application in itself a useful process – even if we hadn’t been successful in our application to the programme, we would have used the application as a basis upon which to base future plans. The application also gave us a snapshot of where the business was headed – which gave us the confidence to forge ahead with our growth plans.
Gez Walsh, of Innergy LPG Ltd completed the programme in February 2012, he had this to say about the application:
The application process is, without doubt, challenging. But even this is valuable. It asks you to really look at your business and understand how it is actually performing and where the potential lies. But if the application is too demanding, then the Programme is probably not for you.
The application is undoubtedly a mammoth task, especially if like me you've never completed one before. However, regardless of whether you get onto the programme or not the time is well spent, as it provides you with the basis for a business plan, whilst getting your thoughts and aspirations for your business out of your head and onto paper
Said Neale Evans, MB Advertising
Janette Elliott of Elliott Hygiene who completed the programme in July 2011 gave her view:
Yes, if you leave it until the last minute! Pace yourself with the process and do yourself and your business justice.
I would like to send one of my more junior work colleagues on the course in my place, is this permitted?
The Programme is designed for business owners who will be members of a cohort with other participants similarly situated. To get the most benefit out of the Programme, we will ask participants to make a full commitment to the Programme and its schedule.
Liz Weatherill, of Enable2 CIC gives her view:
One of the key features of this programme is the unique relationship you will build up with the other cohort members. Over the weeks they will become a support network for you personally and in the business. Even now I am in regular touch with other cohort members and they provide valuable advice when needed.
I don’t think the programme would work if deputies were allowed – our cohort became incredibly close over the time we were on the programme and many of these relationships will last for many years to come. Also, by committing to the programme, you’re making a personal commitment to yourself – and your business. And finally – I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to deputise after the first couple of sessions because I got so much out of the programme in terms of my personal, professional and business development.
said Clare Elsley, of Campus PR who completed the programme in February 2012
The Programme is not university accredited. Graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion from Leeds University Business School.
The programme is delivered from a business centre called Shine. Shine is a community interest company in an area of Leeds called Harehills. It offers work and events spaces (www.shinebusinesscentre.co.uk), where 90% of profits go to artists and supporting local entrepreneurs.
Address - Shine, Harehills Road, Leeds, LS8 5HS.