The latest ERC Research Showcase event took place on 20th January at WBS at The Shard in London.
As usual we had a busy and varied agenda, with the ERC team reporting on a selection of the research projects being undertaken at the Centre. In the morning we covered a range of topics including:
- The links between intellectual property, innovation and performance
- The barriers to collaboration amongst SMEs
- What can be learnt from the UK’s most productive and fast-growing SMEs
- Understanding local productivity disparities.
Director Stephen Roper also gave an insight into some of the exciting work coming up in 2020, including work on productivity and mental health, SMEs and the climate emergency and rural innovation.
In the afternoon session we turned to focus on the theme of business resilience, with the launch of ERC’s latest research report – Building resilience in under-represented entrepreneur: A European comparative study – the culmination of a two-year project across five European cities, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The report outlines the strategies of entrepreneurs running small businesses in London, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid and Paris and the difference approaches taken by under-represented groups in these locations – particularly in relation to firms objectives and use of external advice.
The research also notes difference experiences of crises in the preceding five years. While sector, location and entrepreneurs characteristics have some influence on the likelihood of experiencing and surviving a threat to the business over the period, our survey of nearly 3,000 businesses highlights a disconnect between the internal factors that entrepreneurs worry about, and the largely external forces that can prompt a crisis. A finding that is common across locations and types of business leader.
The research findings informed a number of recommendations for policy makers and private sector agencies offering advice and support to small businesses. In a London context, these focuses on segmenting the SME market and reviewing target outcomes. The research is also informing the on-going development of a toolkit, designed by ERC to help small firms assess their resilience and adopt a more structured approach to crisis planning.
The research output and toolkit were presented at ERC’s Research Showcase. In addition to debate from the audience, our panel of experts, which included an entrepreneur and representatives from business support and membership bodies BITC and FSB, reflected on the findings, noting the potential value of an assessment tool and the importance of access to specialist advice and peer-to-peer learning.
The research report and summary can be accessed on our website.
On-going development and testing of the toolkit will continue, following positive engagement with our stakeholders. If you would like to find out more about the research or how you can get involved with the toolkit development, contact Lee Hopley
Our Research Showcase events play an essential role in helping the ERC achieve its mission of delivering and communicating high quality, useful policy-relevant research. Look out for the next one which will take place in the Autumn.