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

Helping firms along the right road?

Over the last year businesses across the country have been supported by the government through the furlough scheme, loans and grants. But what effects have these schemes had on firms and how will this shape their performance in the future? It’s early days of course and the impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt in… Read more

Is Declining Dynamism to blame for our Productivity woes?

Over the past decade, we have seen a historic slowdown in productivity growth. While there is some cause for optimism based on the rapid adoption of tech during the pandemic, boosting productivity should still be the top priority for any government. After all, more than anything else, it is what determines wages and living standards…. Read more

The end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end for UK trade?

2020 was a terrible year for UK trade. Overall, UK exports in goods contracted by almost 15%, down by £54.5 bln[i] in the twelve-month period, this is even worse than the contraction seen in the UK economy as a whole, which was just under 10% in GDP terms. [ii] Furthermore, the early 2021 bilateral trade… Read more

Innovating places

Climbing a mountain, travelling North or spending time near the sea we all become aware of differences in the climate. In some places configurations of landscape create specific micro-climates, which create conditions of warmth or shelter allowing plants and gardens to flourish. Recent research suggests that business innovation may work in a similar way, with… Read more

Innovate short, innovate long

The dire consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on many firms across the UK continue with depressing implications for employment and future prosperity. The government has invested heavily in supporting businesses through the furlough scheme, loan schemes and rate relief. The strengths and limitations of these measures have been widely covered in the media, but less… Read more

Small business past, present and future

ERC’s 2020 State of Small Business Britain  is now out. And what a year it has been for the UK’s small businesses. ‘Unprecedented’ must be the defining word of 2020 and our latest report looks at how the unprecedented events of this year have translated into impacts on and actions by small and medium enterprises… Read more

What ‘works’ for improving small business productivity?

Ask anyone working with small business owners and they will tell you great stories of how mentoring and training can transform people and their businesses. Each of these stories is important in its own right. In terms of policy, however, this type of anecdotal evidence is of little value in terms of justifying public investments… Read more

Business resilience: location, location, location!

Anticipating adversity, and undertaking crisis planning, are associated with increased resilience in businesses. Yet research published earlier this year by the ERC (carried out before the pandemic) found many small firms struggle to identify their most potent future threats and when crisis hits, most have no contingency plans, resorting to depleting their financial resources to… Read more

The second lockdown risks an insolvency tsunami

Thousands of businesses across England will remain shuttered today as the new month-long coronavirus lockdown takes effect. Citing new scientific evidence showing an expected surge in cases nationwide over the coming weeks, the Government finally bowed to pressure and abandoned its previous regional tiering strategy last weekend. Critics argue that a sharp ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown… Read more