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.

Three more years of enterprise research announced

15 February 2018

The Enterprise Research Centre has secured funding for three further years of research on the state of entrepreneurship and SME growth in the UK.
ERC are delighted to announce that the ESRC, along with funding partners BEIS, Innovate UK, the British Business Bank and the Intellectual Property Office will be funding an exciting programme of research and engagement at the Centre for the next three years. We will continue to cement the reputation of the ERC as the ‘go to’ place for rigorous and independent research and insight on SME innovation, productivity and growth. We look forward to further developing our excellent working relationships with stakeholders across the research, policy and business communities to produce high quality, impactful research.

Why do some firms survive a crisis and others don’t? Europe-wide study launched to find out

9 February 2018

An international study of small and medium-sized firms has been launched to find out why some are more resilient than others when a crisis hits, at both the level of the firm and in the wider economy.
Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99 per cent of all firms across Europe and provide around 70 per cent of employment.

During the financial crisis of 2007-08 the Federation of Small Business (FSB) estimated that up to 50 companies were closing every day in the UK, and yet many survived and there are now more SMEs than ever with the FSB calculating there were 5.7 million in the UK in 2017.

The two-year study, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will involve surveying 3,000 SMEs – defined as firms with less than 250 employees – in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Madrid.

Press release -The taxpayer tech dividend: R&D grants provide £43bn economic boost 7 September 2017

8 September 2017

7th September 2017

The taxpayer tech dividend: R&D grants provide £43bn economic boost, study finds
• Largest ever study shows public R&D grants turbo-charge growth in UK’s industries of the future
• Innovation grants stimulated £43bn additional turnover and created estimated 150,000 jobs
• Employment is boosted by around a fifth, turnover by a quarter – but regional variations are substantial

Taxpayer support for high-tech innovation benefits the economy by significantly boosting jobs, turnover and productivity among the companies backed, new research has found.
Over a 13-year period, R&D grants spurred growth worth £43bn to the British economy – more than five times the £8bn invested – and created around 150,000 jobs.
But the study - the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, carried out by the Enterprise Research Centre – also found big variations in the types of firms most likely to benefit from grants, as well as regional differences in the strength of the effects.
Scientific and technological innovation is seen by the Government as a key plank of its new industrial strategy.


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