What works for supporting firms to go digital?

It has often been suggested that smaller firms – especially more risk averse family-owned firms – may be reluctant to invest in new technologies or innovation. The Evolve Digital scheme, a business support programme for family run businesses, was developed through 2019 to address this issue. Evolve Digital was implemented as a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)… Read more

Do resilient entrepreneurs lead more resilient businesses?

In the context of recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, the ability of a business to survive a crisis is of heightened interest to many, including business leaders, support agencies and policymakers.  Previous research examining the resilience of firms – their ability to survive adversity and potentially to emerge stronger – has considered… Read more

Are employers doing enough to support mental health in the workplace?

Mental health issues have received a high profile in recent months, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that the crisis provoked by the pandemic has led to an inexorable increase in mental ill-health, and that this in turn has implications for productivity and employee wellbeing. Yet research carried out by the ERC indicates… Read more

SMEs and Net Zero

In episode 5 of the Exploring Enterprise Podcast series ERC Director Professor Stephen Roper is joined by Dr Anastasia Ri, Research Fellow at the ERC; Jonathan Withey, Head of Business Development and Planet Mark; and Catherine Westoby, Senior Policy Adviser, Public Behaviour Change on Net Zero at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy… Read more

Midlands businesses need urgent help with staff mental health after report details COVID impact

Media Release issued by the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot Small businesses across the Midlands need urgent help with improving wellbeing in the workplace after a new report showed COVID-19 is now a main factor in causing mental health absences from work. The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP) is encouraging businesses to get in touch… Read more

Business resilience: location, location, location!

Anticipating adversity, and undertaking crisis planning, are associated with increased resilience in businesses. Yet research published earlier this year by the ERC (carried out before the pandemic) found many small firms struggle to identify their most potent future threats and when crisis hits, most have no contingency plans, resorting to depleting their financial resources to… 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                      

Small firms and formal intellectual property protection: A paradox?

We know that firms use knowledge protection mechanisms to limit imitation and enhance their ability to appropriate the returns to their innovative investments. Recent research at the ERC suggests that both formal (e.g. patents) and informal (e.g. secrecy) knowledge protection mechanisms are important for the innovation returns of small firms (those with fewer than 50… Read more

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… Read more

Spin-outs and the great university challenge

ERC research cited in article by James Hurley in the Times,  10/09/2018 A 2015 study into spin-outs by the Enterprise Research Centre found that for the “majority of academic founders” there were “significant tensions” between their commitments to university academic work and the demands of the embryonic company. Research paper No 35:  Profiling UK university spin-outs… Read more

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… Read more

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

• Europe-wide study by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) to find out what makes small and medium-sized businesses good in a crisis • Researchers from Aston and Warwick business schools to lead the study, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation 5 February 2018 | Birmingham, UK. An international study of small and medium-sized firms has been launched… Read more

ERC goes International

Stephen Roper was recently part of a team working with OECD to advise the government of Abu Dhabi on the development of the entrepreneurial eco-system. The final report from the project has just been published by OECD. Stephen’s involvement in the project focussed on boosting innovative entrepreneurship and SME innovation and stressed the importance of… Read more