Welcome to the ERC’s Exploring Enterprise podcast series, in which we discuss some of the latest policy-relevant research evidence on enterprise. Each month we welcome new guest panelists to join us for a discussion on a topical theme.

If you have any feedback on our podcasts please get in touch here.

Episode 18: Supporting better management in small businesses

For the 18th episode  of Exploring Enterprise, the podcast series from the Enterprise Research Centre, Professor Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the ERC is joined by Manny Athwal who is an entrepreneur and the founder and current CEO of the School of Coding, and Ian McLaughlan, who is Director of Business Growth West Midlands, a new business support service to reflect on the important theme of how to support better management in small businesses.

Episode 17: What is the future of business support?

In this episode, Professor Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the ERC, is joined by Richard Jeffery, National Director of GC Business, based in Manchester, and Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice and Chair of the ERC’s Steering Group. They discuss a big question for all those running or providing support to small businesses – what is the future of business support?

Episode 16: Inclusive entrepreneurship

Professor Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the ERC, is  joined by Dr Lorna Treanor, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Nottingham, and Fiona Morrill, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank to discuss and reflect on the  theme of ‘inclusive entrepreneurship’.

What is meant by Inclusive Entrepreneurship and why is it important?

Episode 15: SMEs and Fraud

Professor Stephen Roper, Director of the ERC is  joined by Amber Burridge,  Head of Fraud Intelligence at Cifas, Alan Bryce,  Acting Head of the Fraud Advisory Panel, and Kristina Grinkina who is a Policy Adviser with responsibility for business crime at the Federation of Small Businesses reflecting on an important theme which has become a growing concern for SMEs over recent years – business crime, and particularly fraud.

Episode 14 – SMEs, the Autumn Statement and looking ahead to 2023

For the final 2022 episode of the ERC podcast ,Professor Mark Hart, Deputy Director at the ERC was  joined by Fiona Graham, Director of External Affairs and Policy at the Institute for Family Business, Craig Beaumont,  Chief of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, and Alex Veitch Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce  reflecting on the implications of last months’ Autumn Statement for SMEs and looking ahead to what lies ahead in 2023.

Episode 13: The mental health and wellbeing of entrepreneurs

In this episode, Stephen Roper is joined by Professor Ute Stephan, Professor of Entrepreneurship at King’s College London, Arosha Brouwer Co-Founder and CEO at Quan, a digital well-being and team performance platform, and Jason Jaspal, Assistant Director of Business Development at the UK mental health charity Samaritans, for a discussion on the mental wellbeing of entrepreneurs and SME leaders.

If you want to find out more about the work of Samaritans, please visit: https://www.samaritans.org/.  You can find out more about Quan here: https://www.quanwellbeing.com/


Episode 12: Small businesses in financial crisis

In this episode, Professor Mark Hart is joined by Liz Barclay, the UK’s Small Business Commissioner, James Blackman, Managing Partner at Cocoonfxmedia, and Nicholas Hardman Team Manager at Business Debtline, to reflect on the financial challenges facing small businesses.

If you are affected by the issues discussed in this podcast, Business Debtline provides free debt advice over the phone and online, and can be contacted here: https://www.businessdebtline.org/. The Office of the Small Business Commissioner considers complaints from small businesses about payment problems with their larger business customers. You can find out more here: https://www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk/

Episode 11: Women and enterprise

In the final episode of this series ERC Director Stephen Roper is joined by by Jill Pay, Chair of The Gender Index; Yvonne Greeves, Director of Women in Business at the NatWest Group; and Julie Kapsalis, Chair of Coast to Capital LEP  reflecting on the important theme of ‘women and enterprise’.

Episode 10: Changing the late payment culture

In the 10th edition of the Exploring Enterprise podcast series from the Enterprise Research Centre, Mark Hart is joined by Philip King, previously the Small Business Commissioner and responsible for advising small businesses on their trading relationships and Ant Persse, Chief Executive of Optimum Finance, a specialist invoice finance company  and newly established Saltare Technologies Limited, a Fintech that aims to support businesses with their payment challenges. In this epsiode the discussion reflects on the theme of ‘changing the late payment culture for SMEs, an issue that is now attracting increasing attention.


Episode 9: SMEs and the ‘Triple Transition’

For  the ninth edition of ‘Exploring Enterprise’, the podcast series from the Enterprise Research Centre  Professor Stephen Roper, Director at the ERC was  joined by  Dr Anastasia Ri, Research Fellow at the ERC; Mark Swift, Head of the SME Group at the Warwick Manufacturing Group, based at Warwick University; and Darren Joint, Managing Director of Viking Signs Ltd, a digital on-demand sign manufacturing company. The theme for this podcast  is SMEs and the triple transition.

Episode 8: Reflecting on UK enterprise policy – past and future

In this episode Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the ERC is  joined by Lucy Armstrong, CEO of The Alchemists – an organisation which works with high growth businesses to accelerate their development;  Robert Wapshott, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Nottingham University Business School and  Oliver Mallett, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Stirling University  reflecting on some of the key challenges for UK enterprise policy, in the past and in the future.

Episode 7: SMEs and the changing food economy

In the 7th edition of Exploring Enterprise, the podcast series from the Enterprise Research Centre Stephen Roper, Director of the ERC, is joined by Dr Barbara Tocco, Centre Manager and Senior Research Associate based at Newcastle University, and Professor Tom MacMillan Deputy Director at NICRE based at the Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire and Chris Jewitt, Founder and CEO of community interest company Food and Drink North East discussing the UK’s changing food economy and some of the implications and future opportunities for SMEs

Episode 6: Rural enterprise and COVID-19

In Episode 6, Stephen Roper is joined by the team from the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (or NICRE), to discuss how rural businesses have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future might hold for them. The participants are Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Director of NICRE based at Newcastle University, Professor Janet Dwyer, NICRE co-Director based at the University of Gloucestershire, and Melanie Thompson-Glenn, NICRE’s Business Development Manager.

Episode 5: SMEs and Net Zero

In episode 5, ERC Director Professor Stephen Roper is joined by Dr Anastasia Ri, Research Fellow at the ERC; Jonathan Withey, Head of Business Development and Planet Mark; and Catherine Westoby, Senior Policy Adviser, Public Behaviour Change on Net Zero at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss SMEs and the Net Zero challenge.

Episode 4: SMEs, COVID-19 and mental health

In the latest episode of the Exploring Enterprise podcast series Vicki Belt is joined by Dr Maria Wishart, Research Fellow at the ERC; Dr Carla Toro, Associate Professor Behavioural and Wellbeing Sciences at the University of Warwick; Sean Russell, Co-Investigator of the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot, Coventry University; and Tara Sankar, HR and mental health lead at Tamworth-based SME, Crystal Specialist Finance.

Episode 3: Supporting innovative start-ups

In this episode ERC’s Vicki Belt is joined by Stephen Roper, Director of the ERC,  Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Services and Alex Toft, Head of Minerva Business Angels to discuss how to support innovative start-up businesses.

Episode 2: Local Growth and Levelling Up

Joining us for the second episode of Exploring Enterprise are Colin Bell, Business and Sector Growth Director, North East LEP, and Richard Jeffery, National Director of Growth Company Business to discuss  local growth and ‘levelling up’ , sharing their perspectives on what it means and the main challenges in achieving it in North East England and Manchester.

Episode 1: How have SMEs fared during the pandemic?

In the first episode Lee Hopley is joined by Professor Stephen Roper, Director of the ERC, and Professor Mark Hart and Dr Vicki Belt, Deputy Directors at the ERC discussing  the ERC’s research into small and medium-sized enterprises, and particularly about what they have found out about how businesses have fared over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.