The cost of doing business 2022q2 Data from the Small Business Price Index

Small businesses with less than 50 employees employ 12.9m people (48 per cent of total private sector employment) and account for 36 per cent of private sector turnover. The Small Business Price Index (SBPI) provides an indication of the cost of doing business among this critical group of firms. The SBPI suggests that small business… Read more

What works for supporting firms to go digital?

It has often been suggested that smaller firms – especially more risk averse family-owned firms – may be reluctant to invest in new technologies or innovation. The Evolve Digital scheme, a business support programme for family run businesses, was developed through 2019 to address this issue. Evolve Digital was implemented as a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)… Read more

Do resilient entrepreneurs lead more resilient businesses?

In the context of recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, the ability of a business to survive a crisis is of heightened interest to many, including business leaders, support agencies and policymakers.  Previous research examining the resilience of firms – their ability to survive adversity and potentially to emerge stronger – has considered… Read more

Enabling the Triple Transition in UK SMEs

Firms’ increasing use of digital technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely highlighted. At the same time, evidence of the growing climate crisis also points to the need for firms to move towards more sustainable, low carbon ways of operating. The implications of these digital and net zero transitions for firms’ productivity upgrading are… Read more

Pushing productivity to the top of a firm’s agenda

Recently I visited a company that had performed rather well during the lockdown. One of the lucky ones, its sales grew because they were focused on a domestic market concerned with people’s homes. In the lockdown, this market performed well as fewer people have been commuting to work and have been spending a larger proportion… Read more

Income Protection for Micro-entrepreneurs Under COVID-19: Serving Neoliberal Interests or Small Traders?

The Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference in Cardiff, October 2021, was a joyous occasion that brought researchers together face-to-face for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The paper awarded ‘Best in Conference’ analysed UK policy to protect the income of small traders and microbusiness directors during COVID19, asking whether the policy… Read more

Building an inclusive human resource community: Insights from an action research study of ethnic minority microbusinesses

The importance of human resource (HR) practices to firm productivity is a hardy perennial in academic and policy commentary. Bafflingly absent from this discourse is an important segment of the small firm population: ethnic minority microbusinesses (EMMBs), which consist of firms with between 1 and 9 employees. This omission is surprising given the economic and… Read more

Are employers doing enough to support mental health in the workplace?

Mental health issues have received a high profile in recent months, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that the crisis provoked by the pandemic has led to an inexorable increase in mental ill-health, and that this in turn has implications for productivity and employee wellbeing. Yet research carried out by the ERC indicates… Read more

What can SMEs do to accelerate their journey to Net Zero?

On the eve of COP26, attention is firmly focused on the climate challenge and the need for action by governments, big business, and households. Yet there will be no transition to net zero without small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Why would small business leaders adopt net zero practices? Many SMEs are still reluctant to… Read more

How Can SMEs Contribute to Net Zero?

When it comes to climate change, most attention is placed on the need for action by governments, big business, and individual householders. There are nearly 6 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, employing 16.8 million people, yet they attract far less scrutiny for their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and tend to… Read more