GEM Report: 2018

31 July 2019

Gig economy “a springboard for entrepreneurs”

• Gig workers in the UK are twice as likely as the wider population to be in the early stages of setting up a business, largest global study of entrepreneurs finds
• Sharp fall in entrepreneurship among BAME Britons and immigrants
• Rise of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending sees people increasingly willing to invest in “strangers with good ideas”

Workers in the gig economy are increasingly seeing their “side hustle” as a launchpad into longer-term entrepreneurship, according to the largest annual survey of UK entrepreneurs.

Although often portrayed as a precarious option to supplement low pay, latest data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), has found gig workers are twice as likely as the wider population to be planning to start a business or to be early-stage entrepreneurs.

State of Small Business Britain Conference 2019

27 June 2019

The sixth annual ERC State of Small Business Britain Conference takes place today at The Shard in London. The conference, which this year is being held in partnership with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), focuses on how we can strengthen key sectors of the UK economy. At the event we will present new comparative research on UK firms and hear from industry and policy speakers.
‘Strengthening Sectors’ is a theme at the heart of the Industrial Strategy. Both manufacturing and service firms face significant challenges, however, from increasing global competition as well as the digital revolution. Where do UK businesses stand? Do we have the business mindset to compete effectively?  Are UK firms taking full advantage of new digital technologies? How effectively is policy supporting sectoral strengths particularly among SMEs?
Over the last six years, the State of Small Business Britain Conference has become a must-attend event for those working in enterprise research, support and policy

Job Creation and Destruction in the UK

11 March 2019

Firm-level data hints at “canary in the mine” for UK’s employment ‘miracle’

• Enterprise Research Centre study finds established firms are already shedding jobs, despite employment being buoyed by start-ups
• ‘Churn’ in private sector saw 4.9m jobs created and destroyed last year
• Strong employment figures may be “lulling policymakers into a false sense of security” on economy

Firm-level data on jobs ‘churn’ among the UK’s businesses show early warning signs of an economic slowdown despite the country’s record employment, a new study suggests.

Gazelle firms hoover up rural jobs – but ‘superstars’ boost productivity for all

22 January 2019

• Enterprise Research Centre study shows higher numbers of fast-growing firms in a region can lead to net loss of jobs, especially in rural areas
• But clusters of companies that combine job growth with productivity gains have a positive impact from ‘spillover’ effects
• Policymakers need to be aware of trade-offs from promoting job and productivity growth at the same time

The UK’s efforts to boost productivity while ironing out regional inequalities in job creation may be fundamentally at odds, according to a study of so-called ‘gazelle’ firms.
The findings, based on a study of 6.25m firms over a 17-year period by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), shed new light on the spillover effects highgrowth firms have on other businesses in their region.

Minority-led firms more likely to face “survival threats”

12 December 2018

• New study by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) of 600 London firms finds 48% of businesses run by ethnic minority leaders suffered a major crisis in past five years.
• Data on different types of entrepreneur provides basis for new toolkit to help businesses become more resilient to threats.
• With Brexit uncertainty continuing, study hopes to develop practical solutions based on real-world experiences.

Nearly half of firms run by ethnic minority entrepreneurs have experienced an “existential crisis” threatening their survival in the past five years, a major new survey of London firms has revealed.
The startling figure – 15 percentage points higher than firms not run by someone from a minority group – is among survey data providing fresh insight on the challenges faced by firms led by ethnic minority entrepreneurs, who represent a growing but poorly-understood proportion of UK companies.
The findings form part of a major five-country study of 3,000 European firms looking at how entrepreneurs can ‘shock-proof’ their businesses. Entitled ‘Building Better Business Resilience’, the research project led by the Enterprise Research Centre is supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Northern Ireland’s enterprise progress threatened by Brexit uncertainty

12 November 2018

Northern Ireland’s enterprise progress threatened by Brexit uncertainty

• Proportion of early-stage entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland grows 75% in 15 years
• Meanwhile, established micro-businesses employ 20% of people, showing high rates of profitability and exporting
• Bad Brexit deal could “set the clock back” on enterprise, academics warn

Brexit’s risk to recent positive trends among Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurs and micro-firms has been spelt out in new research.

The two studies by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and Queen’s Management School show that the number of people in Northern Ireland becoming entrepreneurs has risen significantly in recent years, while its micro-firms (those employing 1-9 people) are the most profitable in the UK and more likely to export than most other regions.

Europe-wide study on ‘shock-proof’ firms ahead of Brexit

5 July 2018

Europe-wide study on ‘shock-proof’ firms ahead of Brexit

• Two-year project will learn lessons from 3,000 of Europe’s most resilient firms to spread best practice
• Focus on under-represented groups will seek to understand how entrepreneurs overcome barriers
• With 70% of European jobs in SMEs, study is seen as vital pre-Brexit to cushion economic fallout

A new study on business resilience in five European countries will draw up lessons on ‘shock-proofing’ firms on both sides of the Channel ahead of Brexit.

With the prospect of the UK exiting the European Union next year without a trade deal still a possibility, the ability of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to cope with adverse economic conditions is a hot topic for firms across the continent.

The research project, Building Better Business Resilience, will be led by academics at the Enterprise Research Centre, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The researchers will survey 600 firms from across London to generate new data and insight into the characteristics and tactics of resilient firms. This survey will then expand to 2,400 small firms in Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Madrid.

GEM Report 2017: Minorities and immigrants ‘twice as entrepreneurial as white Britons’

4 July 2018

• People from ethnic minority backgrounds and immigrants to UK are twice as likely to be early-stage entrepreneurs
• New Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) findings show gap has widened sharply since financial crisis of 2008
• Women, younger people, ethnic minority groups and migrants more likely to be motivated by ‘creating meaning’ as well as making money when starting a business

People from ethnic minority and immigrant backgrounds are twice as likely as their white British counterparts to be early-stage entrepreneurs, new research shows.
The findings from Aston University in Birmingham, using data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), sponsored by NatWest, also show that women, people from ethnic minority communities and migrants are more likely to be motivated by creating ‘meaning’ – rather than just making money – when starting a business than white British men.

UK Growth Dashboard 2018

21 June 2018

Business growth snapshot shows Brexit ‘crunch spots’

• Firms in Northern Ireland and parts of the North of England show strong growth and productivity gains in latest annual study of SMEs
• Coastal and rural areas display lower numbers of fast-growing firms, leaving them vulnerable to economic shock
• Experts warn threat of more complex trading arrangements could undo recent success of firms in some regions


Brexit’s threat to burgeoning small firms in Northern Ireland and less dynamic areas of England, Wales and Scotland is underscored in the latest annual health-check of the UK’s SMEs.

The UK Local Growth Dashboard 2018, published by the Enterprise Research Centre, paints a stark picture of the nation’s varied growth geography among small and medium-sized enterprises.




Micro-business Britain

21 June 2018

‘Digital dividend’ productivity boost for UK’s micro firms

• Biggest ever study of UK ‘micro-businesses’ (with 1-9 employees) shows big boosts to productivity from use of digital technologies
• Doubling adoption could provide a ‘digital dividend’ boost to the economy worth £16.6bn
• Research points way to boosting output of group of firms traditionally seen as ‘drag’ on national productivity
The UK’s army of micro-businesses could boost the economy by £16.6bn with greater adoption of five key digital technologies shown to supercharge productivity.

The largest ever study of so-called micro-businesses – those employing between one and 9 staff – conducted by the Enterprise Research Centre is the first to put hard numbers on the effect digital adoption can have on productivity for the smallest firms.

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