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Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK – Re-Thinking Productivity, London

June 26 2018

Goldman Sachs Rethinking Productivity conference poster
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Written by Andrew Ajoodha, Wirebox Founder

On the 19th June I was invited to attend the Goldman Sachs alumni 10,000 Small Businesses UK Rethinking Productivity Conference in London at the Bloomberg European Headquarters in London.

Productivity is something I am trying to improve at Wirebox, so I was really looking forward to the event and the speakers who would be there. It was also my first Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alumni event, so it was good to get to know everybody.

The Bloomberg offices were open plan, designed to encourage collaboration and bring people together, which seemed fitting as they were hosting an event on productivity.

Productivity in UK lowest among G7

One of the first talks from Andrew Benito was on Productivity and how the UK compares to the rest of the world. UK is behind all G7 countries and has become worse in the last 10 years. Below you can see some of the main points

I knew our productivity was lower, but I did not know by how much. Small businesses account for more than half of the UK’s GDP and trying to improve productivity will help close the gap.

Michael Bloomberg & Richard Gnodde

Bloomberg TV provided a Q & A with Michael Bloomberg & Richard Gnodde who answered various questions such as how they started out in business and how to deal with employees.

Michael Bloomberg told the story of how he was fired from his first job, leading him to start Bloomberg showcasing just how failure can lead to great success.

Richard Gnodde’s story was different; he worked his way through Goldman Sachs working in different countries. He stated that even though he did not always do a good job, his managers believed in him enough to help him get it right.

Sally Boyle and Jo Hannaford discuss the importance of investing in people and technology

Sally Boyle and Jo Hannaford both work at Goldman Sachs with Sally being the international head of Human Capital Management and Jo head of the technology division for EMEA.

Both spoke about their careers and how they had to work in a male dominated workplace which made it all the more important to be strong women and act as role models.

Investing in people was a strong point. Jo is still learning new coding languages in evening classes and spoke of how it helps her to know what those she employs do and how they do it.

One of the points she raised what that you cannot hire a developer if you do not understand code. I agree to a certain extent, but as an owner of a small business knowing how to code to the extent of some of my development team would be very hard.

Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan’s talk was short and about how he was brought up with his family business so he understood the issues that surround small businesses.

Sadiq spoke about how he was helping small businesses with new workspaces and initiatives he had brought on.

It was a shame he did not take any questions from the audience, as I would have asked about his decision to stop the Met line link to Watford, which he was responsible for.

Feedback

I thought the event was very good, I enjoyed listening to and speaking with some well respected business leaders and all in an impressive venue.

With the Mayor of London and government officials giving speeches, I came away with the feeling that just maybe the government and big business are trying to do their bit to help small business. There is a lot more help and access than 10 years ago, but it is much more competitive now. Trying to get the right information or access to the right person or get the funding are the toughest parts.

My plan is to engage more with government officials to see if they can actually help small business, starting with those on my doorstep, including the Mayor of Watford.