In previous research we showed that, popular opinion notwithstanding, there is no correlation between firm birth rates and net job creation rates across England’s LEPs. More start-ups does not equate to more jobs.

In this project we will investigate in more detail the association between spatial variation in the proportions of different categories of firms and spatial variation in rate of job growth. We are especially interested in the share of high growth firms — a category particularly interesting to policymakers. The dataset to be used will be the ONS Business Structure Database which has already underpinned much of our work on firm dynamics.

CompletionNovember 2016
KeywordsHeterogeneity, SME, growth, locality, local, High growth firms, HGFs
ThemeBusiness Demography

Project Seminar – December  2016

The ERC held a project day on 13th December 2016 at the WBS offices in The Shard. The day was split into two sessions. During the afternoon we held initial stakeholder meetings for Projects 6-9. The event was attended by over 40 stakeholders, and generated interesting discussion and useful feedback to help inform the research.

During the last decade High Growth Firms (HGFs) — sometimes referred to as ‘Scale-Ups’ — have increasingly become an established feature of the UK business policy landscape. Indeed HGFs are mentioned in  the government’s recently published policy document “Building our Industrial Strategy”, and are now considered sufficiently important that the government has proposed that the Minister for Small Business take on the role of “Scale-Up Champion”.

Whilst the OECD’s HGF measure may not be an ideal summary indicator of firm performance its use has shed some light on the evolution of an influential group of fast growth firms. We have some preliminary findings,

  • firms which record one high growth episode typically record at least one other
  • a substantial proportion of HGFs record their first high growth episode by age 5
  • ‘repeat’ growth episodes are much less age-dependent

The first stage of the project will be to investigate the robustness of these findings using data on the universe of UK private sector firms between 1997 and 2016. This investigation will also cover the performance of the UKs HGFs over the Great Recession and the subsequent recovery.

We know rather less about job creation by HGFs, and this is the second principal strand of the agenda.

  • we need to explore the dynamics of job creation: do younger HGFs create more jobs than older HGFs?
  • we know that HGFs are unevenly spread across the country but their location does not appear to be closely related to their impact on ‘local’ job creation

If policy-makers wish to put HGFs/Scale-ups closer to the centre of policy and, in particular, expect this policy to have impact across all Local Economic Partnerships in England, then a stronger evidence base is clearly required

Research Showcase. June 2017

The ERC held a Research Showcase on June 20th 2017 at RSA House in London.
The agenda of the day reflected the range of research we are currently undertaking at the Centre. The aim was to share our research insights and ideas with our key stakeholders, and to engage in dialogue with them about these. The showcase generated lively discussion and we are very grateful for the excellent engagement from our stakeholders, whose insights will shape and strengthen the final project outputs.

Project 9 –  One page Summary

We are always happy to receive comments from stakeholders on our research. If you would like to do this, or  you would like to be involved in future ERC research events, please email Dr Vicki Belt, Deputy Director – impact and Engagement.