Innovate short, innovate long

The dire consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on many firms across the UK continue with depressing implications for employment and future prosperity. The government has invested heavily in supporting businesses through the furlough scheme, loan schemes and rate relief. The strengths and limitations of these measures have been widely covered in the media, but less… Read more

What ‘works’ for improving small business productivity?

Ask anyone working with small business owners and they will tell you great stories of how mentoring and training can transform people and their businesses. Each of these stories is important in its own right. In terms of policy, however, this type of anecdotal evidence is of little value in terms of justifying public investments… Read more

Crisis entrepreneurs

Is now a good time to start a new business? In this FT article published this morning, ERC Deputy Director Mark Hart says we could be seeing an uptick of “crisis entrepreneurs” adding that these are people who have lost their job during the pandemic and have no other choice in the current labour market than… Read more

Support for entrepreneurs critical for post-Covid recovery – GEM

      Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report calls on policymakers to create right conditions for an enterprise-led economic recovery worldwide. Policymakers around the world must provide clear advice and practical support for entrepreneurs to ensure global economies recover from the devastation of coronavirus, a new report says. Presenting a snapshot of support measures introduced by… Read more

Diagnosing COVID-19 Impacts on Entrepreneurship – Exploring Policy Remedies for Recovery

The impact of policy decisions can play an important role in entrepreneurial success. A new GEM report: “Diagnosing COVID-19 Impacts on Entrepreneurship – Exploring Policy Remedies for Recovery”,  sponsored by Shopify, features over 50 GEM research teams around the world sharing how their government’s response to COVID-19 compared to previous crises and the entrepreneurship policy… Read more

One size doesn’t fit all in terms of R&D and innovation

While some of us have been able to work at home during the Covid-19 crisis – and may have actually improved our productivity – this has not been the case for most of those involved in research and development (R&D). Lock-down has meant no access to laboratories or the specialist kit needed, so many R&D… Read more

How small businesses can get one over the big boys in Zoom revolution

Some small companies have adapted in the Zoom revolution with the ability to compete with larger rivals as potential customers , suppliers and partners no longer expect physical meetings.  New article out today by David Wighton in the Times with comment from Mark Hart suggests that the crisis has boosted the efforts of small companies… Read more

June 2020 Press Coverage

Business News Wales: Lack of support for workers’ mental health “cuts firm productivity by a quarter”  IPSE: IPSE sets out case for more support for self-employed in latest Treasury Committee evidence                      

ERC research used in new business diagnostic and recovery tool

The ERC have partnered with business support organisation Oxford Innovation to create a new GROWTHmapper® Recovery diagnostic and recovery planning tool. The tool helps SMEs assesses their immediate and future needs in the context of the Covid19 crisis, working in conjunction with an accredited GROWTHmapper® coach or advisor. A suite of tools developed by the… Read more

Could Covid-19 give SMEs strategic space to improve productivity?

For a long time, the UK has produced many firms that perform poorly yet manage to survive. Various descriptions of these firms have been used. In recent debates about productivity for example they have been referred to as ‘the long tail’ of underperforming businesses. Shortening the long tail has been identified as a policy priority… Read more

Covid-19: How can SMEs innovate their way out of the crisis?

Mark Hart authored a blog for The Aston Angle looking at how businesses will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Some sectors may benefit financially, while others will suffer huge losses. Those countries with more service-oriented economies, like the UK, will be more negatively affected and will suffer larger negative employment effects. The UK economy was… Read more

Can we afford to return to “busy-ness” as usual?

Lorry drivers on tight schedules. Pet owners demanding more from their vets. Sales and service staff working from home with little access to office support. Archaeologists staying in hotels as a way of life. Hospitality staff working longer than contracted hours to make ends meet. Short-term contracts restricting access to finance. Ex-Army personnel with PTSD… Read more

Bouncing back from the Covid-19 crisis: reflections on mental health and resilience

Bouncing back from the Covid-19 crisis: reflections on mental health and resilience Firms that survive adversity often have the abilities, characteristics and actions of their employees to thank. As many reflected during Mental Health Awareness Week last week, it is worth remembering that the current crisis will undoubtedly have impacted upon the mental health of… Read more

Is small lending too big to fail? Covid-19 and P2P lending to SMEs

Over the last decade, the landscape of SME finance has changed dramatically. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, while traditional bank lending experienced a sluggish recovery, a new model of online marketplace (P2P) business lending emerged. Funding Circle, started in 2010, was the world’s first P2P platform to fund business loans and seemed to… Read more

UK companies facing COVID-19 “pincer movement”, data shows

 News release: 20 April 2020 New data shows a spike in limited companies going out of business – coupled with a big decline in new starts – has hit all regions and sectors since the start of March   New data suggests the UK economy is facing a worrying “pincer movement” due to the coronavirus pandemic,… Read more

Left in the cold: How company directors are excluded from the Government’s coronavirus support schemes

The Government’s various coronavirus support schemes aim to provide a safety net for both employees and the self-employed during the suddenly-imposed ‘lockdown’ period now affecting the UK economy. But while the headline measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak over recent weeks – including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) aimed at employees, Coronavirus Business Interruption… Read more

750,000 self-employed miss out on UK coronavirus support – study

  Lack of provision for most vulnerable self-employed in measures announced by the UK Chancellor last week threatens to “decimate a whole generation of early-stage entrepreneurs”, report authors say. More than 750,000 self-employed people in the UK could miss out on Government support during the coronavirus pandemic, a new analysis has shown. The findings from… Read more

Covid-19 and the implications for future innovation

Over the last few days we have seen some inspiring and innovative responses to the Corona Virus crisis by UK firms and universities. The JCB-Dyson collaboration to produce ventilators and the UCL-Mercedes AMG collaboration to develop other breathing aids are outstanding examples. Necessity is the mother of invention after all. But what of the wider… Read more

The duration of the economic restrictions is decisive for the German Mittelstand

As in the UK, significant parts of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany are affected by the corona virus pandemic. In this difficult economic situation, the Federal Government in Germany has sent a very positive signal with its comprehensive support measures targeted not only at large corporations, but also at medium-sized, small and micro… Read more

Sunak’s self-employed support is welcome – but here’s five ways to improve it

After a wait that felt like an eternity, self-employed people finally got some clarity yesterday (March 26th) on how the Government intends to support them during the coronavirus pandemic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was more generous than many expected. The headline is that self-employed people will be able to claim… Read more

Avoiding Economic Meltdown In a National Emergency?

It took less than a week following the Chancellor’s Budget the package to feel woefully insubstantial given COVID-19 developments and the impact on the economy, businesses and jobs. As expected, he was on his feet again this week with a much bigger suite of measures aimed at supporting businesses with costs and cashflow. “Whatever it… Read more