Vivienne Garnett, Recruitment & Data Manager for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK

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Saïd Business School, University of Oxford 

Data and insights from The Gender Index have proven invaluable to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Delivered by Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme provides high-quality, practical education and business support to leaders of high-growth small companies across the country. The Gender Index has proven to be not only eye-opening but an incredibly useful tool, helping us with one of our key objectives – increasing the number of female company leaders supported by the programme. 

We recruit small company leaders to participate in a course fully funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundation, set up to help established, high growth small businesses manage their growth and thrive. Ensuring that our cohorts are diverse, and in particular reaching groups underrepresented in the UK small business landscape, has always been a key objective of the programme. The Gender Index literally gives us a map of where to find these individuals. 

The data from the 2023 report shows that the highest concentration of female-led companies is in the West and North West of England. Whilst other organisations can use this information to encourage more women to lead companies elsewhere, in the devolved nations, the North East and the South West, we have used it to more easily find the women already leading companies and offer them the tools to succeed. Hopefully they will light the way for other women with entrepreneurial ambitions. 

Data about which generations female founders belong to has impacted how we reach the women whose companies are eligible for our programme. The percentage of female-led companies is higher in Gen Z and Millennial groups than for older generations, which is opposite to the average when you look at company leadership across the entire population. This data is particularly encouraging for the future of UK small businesses. 

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme, delivered by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, has seen a steady rise in female applicants. Our most recent cohort, which started in February 2024, had 46% female small business leaders. We hope to exceed this in our September cohort and are delighted with the work The Gender Index is doing to highlight inequalities and show us where we can all support women in business.

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