Professor Mark Hart

Deputy Director - ERC

Mark is Deputy Director of the ERC and Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School. At the Centre Mark leads on business growth and productivity research to understand the dynamics of the private sector over time and the role of SMEs as well as contributing to the work on growth ambition and access to finance.

Contact Details

Email:[email protected]
Telephone:0121 204 3048
Twitter: twitter.com/@markhart84
vCard:Click to download

Research Themes

  • Ambition
  • Business Demography Research Theme

Biography

Professor Mark Hart is Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, Associate Director of the Aston Centre for Growth, and is one of the Programme Directors and Academic Lead of the national Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme. A 2014 recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion, he has played a national role in promoting enterprise skills and supporting entrepreneurs as well as advising government on small business and entrepreneurship matters. He is Deputy Director of the national Enterprise Research Centre (www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk) which is jointly hosted by Aston University and the University of Warwick and has as its mission to understand the drivers of small business growth.  Mark leads on business growth and productivity research to understand the dynamics of the private sector over time and the role of SMEs as well as contributing to the work on growth ambition and access to finance. He also manages the GEM UK national team for GEM Global which is the only international source of annual evidence on entrepreneurial attitudes, activity and aspiration (www.gemconsortium.org).

 

Insight

Job Creation and Destruction in the UK 1998-2018

Using an established international analytical framework for job creation and destruction we observe that just over a quarter of all jobs in the private sector were either destroyed or created over a typical 12 month period – a remarkable level of turbulence in the UK labour market which provides a more granular analysis of the recent so-called ‘employment miracle’. Despite the rise in employment since the Great Recession there has been a slight fall in the measure of business dynamism which is a cause for concern given its importance to the overall level of productivity in the economy.

Associated Themes
Research Paper

Fecundity, fertility, survival and growth: high-growth firms in the UK and their contribution to job creation, a demographic perspective. Research Paper No 74

High growth firms (HGFs) have attracted an increasing amount of attention in the last decade as economies begin to emerge from a period of deep recession and policymakers take a renewed interest in firms which generate jobs on a large scale However, despite the attention given to HGFs by policy-makers and researchers, surprisingly little seems to be known about the longer term performance of HGFs and, in particular, about their growth outside the period which led them to be classified as HGFs.
The principal contributions of this paper build on the distinction between high-growth episodes and high-growth firms. The ‘birth’ of an HGF is marked by its first high-growth episode (i.e., defined as a HGF for the first time according to the OECD definition, but the HGF may (indeed is quite likely to) record further high-growth episodes in subsequent years – that is, be defined for a second time as a HGF in a subsequent 3-year period.

Associated Themes
Research Paper

The UK’s high growth firms and their resilience over the Great Recession – Research Paper No 62

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 Minister for Small Business has taken on the role of ”Scale-Up Champion”.
Whilst we know something of the characteristics of these firms – about their age, size, sector and location – we know relatively little about the dynamics of the HGF population as it evolves over time. For the most part attention is focused simply on the annual count which, as we shall see, is not an entirely appropriate measure of HGF activity.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Insight

High performing firms and job creation: a longitudinal analysis (1998-2013) ERC Insight Paper

The OECD High-Growth Firm (HGF) measure was a pragmatic solution to a practical problem. It was designed to assist in identifying the small group of firms which contributed disproportionately to job creation. This statistic could be used to inform national policy and to make comparisons across countries, since it could be readily replicated using business register data. The decade since the measure was first published has seen increasing dissatisfaction amongst the academics and policymakers seeking to make use of it. There are two important criticisms. First, it focuses attention on relatively short ‘bursts’ of growth rendering invisible the reality of growth for the majority of businesses, and second, it does not in fact capture some important members of its target group the ‘relatively small proportion of firms that contribute disproportionately to job creation’.
We present a new analysis of job creation in the UK, using data on a cohort of start-ups born in 1998 to identify three different groups of high performing firms. Of these three groups we find that HGFs as defined by the OCED do not create the most jobs, in fact they grow more slowly and have a lower survival rate than the comparators. Notably, though, most of the observed growth in all three groups takes place within the first five years after start-up.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Research Paper

Ambitious Entrepreneurship and Migration A Multi-Level Study across the Local Authorities in England and Wales. Research Paper No 47

We consider why both immigrants and regional migrants may embark on different types of entrepreneurial projects: high versus low aspiration; opportunity driven versus necessity driven. Next, using Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data, we construct a multiple-years sample of UK working age population with wide spatial coverage, and apply a multi-level multinomial logit model to test and compare propensities of migrants to enter into different forms of entrepreneurship. We find that – compared with those who are not spatially mobile – both internal (regional) migrants and immigrants are more likely to start new ventures characterised by high growth aspirations. Immigrants are more likely than non-migrants to engage in both opportunity-driven and high-aspiration entrepreneurship, but, unlike regional migrants, not in necessity-driven and low-aspiration entry.

Associated Themes
Insight

Spatial Incidence of High Growth Firms.

High-Growth Firms (HGFs) are a very small proportion of the UK business population yet they have a disproportionate impact on job creation.
We present data at local economic area level over time to show that there is a very distinct geography emerging for the incidence rate of HGFs since the recession.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Insight

Contribution to Job Creation by High Growth SMEs.

High-Growth Firms (HGFs) are a very small proportion of UK businesses population yet they have a disproportionate impact on job creation. We re-visit the issue to confirm that typically, over a three year period, high growth SMEs represent less than 1% of established businesses, but generate 20% of all job growth amongst established businesses which grow

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Research Paper

Feasibility Study – Exploring the Long-Term Impact of Business Support Services. Research Paper No 29

This report is a feasibility study examining whether it is possible to observe a longer term impact of business improvement schemes in general using the old Business Link (BL) offer in England in 2003 as an example. The report covers the methodological issues of assessing the economic impact of business support interventions over an extended time period, although the findings will be of interest to policy makers. Building on the published evaluation of BL in 2006 this new analysis uses 7 additional years of employment and turnover data from the ONS Business Structure Database (BSD) to demonstrate the value of longitudinal evaluation time frames.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Insight

UK’s Hidden Growth Champions

The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) has developed an alternative approach to identifying groups of fast-growing firms which contribute disproportionately to job creation and output. This will have significant implications for policy discussions on the relative importance of SMEs and which types of firms drive growth in the economy.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Insight

Moving on from the ‘Vital 6%’

High-Growth Firms (HGFs) represent only a small minority - the ‘Vital 6%’ - of the UK business population yet they have a disproportionate impact on job creation and innovation. This paper confirms the headline conclusion for job creation: that is, a small number of job creating firms (mostly small firms) are responsible for a significant amount of net job creation in the UK. It also suggests the existence of a smaller group of 'extraordinarily prolific job creating firms' who were micro firms in 1998 and now employ almost 100,000 people.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
Research Paper

Localisation of Industrial Activity across England’s LEPs: 2008 & 2012 .Research Paper No 15.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills commissioned the ERC to undertake an analysis of industrial clusters in the UK and to use the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as the sub-national spatial frame in England. The analysis is designed as an information source for the LEPs as they prepare their new strategic economic plans.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
White Paper

Supporting Sustained Growth Among SMEs. White Paper No 7.

Among SMEs high growth is often episodic and not sustained. This paper reviews a number of international support measures designed to give SMEs the capabilities and resources to sustain fast growth.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Burden or Benefit? Regulation as a dynamic influence on SME performance. Research Paper No 7.

This paper contributes to contemporary debates concerning the impact of regulation on small business performance in the UK.

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme
White Paper

Firm Dynamics and Job Creation in the UK. White Paper No 6.

A consistent theme in the discussion of attempts to stimulate economic recovery in the UK is a recognition of the need to unlock the growth potential of the private sector. This paper explores the simple question – “What types of firms create the most jobs in the UK economy?”

Associated Themes
  • Business Demography Research Theme