ERC’s State of Small Business Britain Conference 2015  welcomed over 150 delegates to the Thinktank in Birmingham’s Millennium Point.

The morning kicked off with a close look at what happened to the economy between 2008 and 2014 and its impact on small and medium sized businesses. We were proud to launch our UK ‘Growth Dashboard’ in collaboration with the Business Growth Service setting out the latest data on how the SME sector both fared in, and is now showing signs of recovery, from the Great Recession. A lively debate bringing both international and real life business perspectives followed and set the tone for a day full of contrasts.

Watch this year’s Headline video ‘ Recovering from the Great Recession’

After the break, we looked at the links between high entrepreneurial ambition which we know drives growth, and education and ethnicity. It turns out both are also drivers of growth, and mobility is what matters –  with immigrants and regionally mobile people more likely to have high ambition than people who never move.

 Our fun whiteboard animation outlines this important piece of research.


Professor Sara Carter took us into lunch with a look at whether entrepreneurship makes you wealthy and the impact of business ownership on households. Entrepreneurial households are wealthier in terms of their assets than non-entrepreneurial households but for many small business owners there are high levels of interdependency between what happens to the businesses finances and what happens to the family’s.

Read Sara’s presentation here


After lunch, we were joined by Sherry Coutu and Baroness Patience Wheatcroft who talked together about how the UK could maximise the growth prospects of UK firms with Scale-Up potential. This set the frame for the unveiling of some as yet unfinished research by Mark Hart on the ‘Millennial 2000’ businesses. The M2000 were all born in 1997/98 and have survived 2 downturns to generate significant levels of growth in jobs or sales or both. We were left wondering whether, within a subset of this group of firms, we might find some valuable insights into the UK’s ‘Productivity Puzzle’.

The work was brought alive by 2 of our business guests, Chris Pick from Pick Fisk and Raj Iqbal from Choice Packaging Solutions Ltd. who are both Millennial 2000 Firms and have fantastic growth stories to tell.



Read Mark’s presentation  here  and  the case studies of our M2000 Firms ERC Conference 2015 – Business Case Studies.




Throughout the day the audience were encouraged to join in, sharing thoughts, asking questions and voting on key questions with their computerised keypads. We closed a really engaging and thought provoking day collectively considering the UK’s future challenges over the next 5 years.

Take  a look at our picture gallery from the event.