Published: 8 December 2020
This research report documents the findings of an evaluation of Cavendish Enterprise’s ‘Boosting SME productivity’ project.
ERC,, Roper, Stephen, Drummond, Halima Jibril,Ian, Scott, Doug
Management and Leadership
Productivity and performance
This research report documents the findings of an evaluation of Cavendish Enterprise’s ‘Boosting SME productivity’ project. The project was part of the government’s ‘Business Basics’ Programme which was designed to test new approaches to supporting improved performance in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Business Boost trial project involved providing young small firms – typically micro-businesses – with a treatment involving a series of workshops designed to enhance productivity. This was provided largely as a top-up to an advice and mentoring programme called ‘Start and Grow’.
The evaluation was conducted by the ERC between January 2019 and March 2020. It used a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) approach. It involved analysis of three groups of firms: a Treatment group of 150 firms, a Control group of 150 firms, and a Comparison group also of 150 firms. As the evaluation was carried out six months after the treatment was given, the focus was on attitudinal and behavioural changes, with research questions relating to productivity enhancing tools, routines and behaviours.
Overall, the findings provide evidence of widespread positive and statistically significant effects of the treatment on awareness of a number of growth and performance related management tools. Effects on the use of the tools were generally somewhat weaker. There was also evidence of increased adoption of various performance related business behaviours (e.g. formation of mission and vision statements, formal business planning). The treatment applied was shown to have clear impacts on productivity-enhancing attitudes and behaviours in the target group of firms. The Business Boost trial generated some clear findings to inform policy. It also suggests some lessons for those planning future RCTs related to business support, particularly where this involves an element of face-to-face delivery
Assessing the impact of Covid-19 on Innovate UK award holders Survey and case-study evidence Wave 2 –October/November 2020
Second benchmark report on the impact of Covid-19 crisis on the status of Innovate UK award holders.
Published: 14 January 2021
We used depth interviews with business managers from the Midlands Engine area of England to explore the ways in which they and their organisations experienced mental health issues during the Covid-19 lockdown period. We spoke with our participants before and after lockdown. Four key themes emerged from the managers’ narratives. Firstly, the crisis has meant significant changes to the ways that many people experience the workplace and this has led to a number of new triggers for mental health issues. Secondly, mental health issues during and post-lockdown affected some groups of employees more, or in different ways, than others. Often, those affected were different from those who had experienced mental health issues pre-Covid. Thirdly, while stigma is known to discourage people from disclosing mental health issues, employees may be even less likely to admit to mental health issues during and following the crisis and lockdown than before. Fourthly, with increased remote working, it may be more difficult to identify the changes in behaviour that can signal that someone is struggling with mental health issues. Taking account of these insights is important to allow employers, policymakers and mental health practitioners to be aware of potential issues, and to design appropriate interventions. Our findings also have implications for the future research agenda.
Published: 4 November 2020
Enterprise Research Centre
Warwick Business School
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
Enterprise Research Centre
Aston Business School
Birmingham B4 7ET
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