Aston University has launched its first stage of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the West Midlands to give a much-needed shot in the arm to the regional economy.
Recruitment for the second cohort has also started, with preview events taking place this month and in December.
The programme, successfully established in Yorkshire and the North West, is designed to boost local economic growth and job creation through a combination of high quality, practical business education and support services to small businesses and social enterprises.
Businesses in the first cohort represent a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, business services, technology, retail and education. They range in size from approximately £200,000 in turnover to over £3million.
They have been recruited from across the Midlands, including Birmingham, Coventry, Walsall, and Solihull.
MP for Hodge Hill and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said: “Our city is packed with talent and enterprise – but not enough of the city’s entrepreneurs, especially women and young people, are getting the encouragement and support they need to start and grow a business.
"Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Businesses is exactly the kind of programme we should be promoting across Birmingham. It’s the kind of programme I wish had been around when I was battling to build a business all those years ago”
Michelle Pinggera, Goldman Sachs Chief of Staff for Europe, Middle East and Africa, added: “It is fantastic to see such a strong group of local entrepreneurs representing a wide range of industries from across the Midlands region.
"We hope that the dynamic mix of businesses at varying stages of development will stimulate valuable peer learning and networking benefits, ultimately leading to growth.”
Applications are currently open for the second cohort of the 10,000 Small Businesses programme in the Midlands, which will begin in spring 2012.
Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University, said: “Growing a small business into a larger business is always tough. Recruiting great staff, financing expansion and developing new markets are just some of the many skills needed. In the current economic climate there often seems too little time to run a business and to acquire these skills.
“That is why the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme could not have come at a better time for business in Birmingham.
“There is a wealth of talent across an array of business sectors in Birmingham’s local centres like Small Heath, Alum Rock and Sparkbrook, as well as in the city centre itself. There is energy and flair already.
"Goldman Sachs and Aston University together are going to make sure that all the skills needed for growth are now available too. From there, jobs will surely follow.”