The State of Small Business Britain 2021: Enabling the Triple Transition

The State of Small Business Britain report is the Enterprise Research Centre’s annual review of trends affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. The report discusses the findings from research and analysis carried out and/or published by the ERC in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to dominate the research agenda this year,… 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

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

NI research reports on SMEs

Two new reports have been published by the Department for Economy NI.  The research completed by Queen’s University Belfast provides insights on how Northern Ireland Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) have responded to environmental issues and on the digital transformation process of Northern Ireland small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The… Read more

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

The second lockdown risks an insolvency tsunami

Thousands of businesses across England will remain shuttered today as the new month-long coronavirus lockdown takes effect. Citing new scientific evidence showing an expected surge in cases nationwide over the coming weeks, the Government finally bowed to pressure and abandoned its previous regional tiering strategy last weekend. Critics argue that a sharp ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown… Read more

Job loss fears making workers less open about mental health

‘Furlough envy’, isolation and additional home stresses have triggered deteriorations in workplace mental health, new study suggests Workers less likely to talk to managers about experiencing mental health problems since lockdown, fearing ‘repercussions’ Study highlights need to raise awareness among employers of resources available to support mental health   Workers have become less open about… Read more

Leadership in ‘laggards’ key to post-Covid productivity gains

New study challenges assumption that most productive firms will drive future productivity gains Inspirational leadership shown to boost productivity in firms of all sizes and sectors, even those starting with low levels Research provides evidence to support recent public investment in ‘soft skills’ training for business leaders New research from the Enterprise Research Centre suggests… Read more

New ERC Research reports on innovation and productivity in Northern Ireland

Three new ERC research reports focusing on innovation and productivity in the Northern Ireland economy have been published. The reports, authored by ERC research associates based at Queens University Belfast and Warwick Business School were funded by the Department for Economy Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland. They focus on the interrelationship between R&D, innovation… 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

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

Protecting our pies and pasties post-Brexit

What do Cornish Pasties and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies have in common? Well, neither appeal to vegetarians for sure but they share more than their meaty ingredients. Both are also protected food names covered by European legislation on Geographical Indications of Origin (or GIs). This means that just as Champagne can currently only be produced… Read more

‘East-west divide’ sees Manchester pull ahead in Northern Powerhouse enterprise race

A new ERC report published today has highlighted an enterprise divide among Northern Powerhouse regions across a range of growth metrics. An ‘East/West divide’ has opened up when it comes to business start-ups and firm growth in the Northern Powerhouse area, new research has found. The  Northern Powerhouse Growth Dashboard found that in the most… Read more

ERC Research Showcase

The latest ERC Research Showcase event took place on 20th January at WBS at The Shard in London. As usual we had a busy and varied agenda, with the ERC team reporting on a selection of the research projects being undertaken at the Centre. In the morning we covered a range of topics including: The links… Read more

Building resilience in under-represented entrepreneurs: A European comparative study

Equipping under-represented SME leaders with the skills and resources to identify and plan for key future risks will not only improve their firms’ resilience – it will also deliver ongoing wider economic benefits. These are some of the takeaways from our latest research report, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation – Building resilience in under-represented… Read more

Britain’s Innovation Challenge: the expansion of employment in higher value-added sectors

Although productivity growth across the developed world has fallen, the data is clear that productivity in the UK is lagging other industrialised countries. One of the challenges with policy development to improve productivity is that there needs to be some consensus as to what the underlying issues are. But for the UK there is currently… Read more

ERC Conference 2019 – Strengthening Sectors

On the 27th June the ERC welcomed over 100 delegates to The Shard for the 6th State of Small Business Britain Conference, which this year focused on the topical theme of ‘Strengthening Sectors’. The conference, which was chaired this year by Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas of Queens University Belfast, covered a wide range of issues relating… Read more

State of Small Business Britain Conference 2019 – UK manufacturing ‘fragile’ as Brexit nears – research

● Enterprise Research Centre report finds dampened growth across manufacturing firms, as new start-ups also drop by 10% overall and nearly 30% in the automotive sector ● Fewer firms achieving ‘high growth’ status – with key manufacturing regions falling behind ● ERC warns of a “breakdown in dynamism” as Brexit fears stalk the sector The… Read more

Innovation and productivity: How strong is the connection?

Innovation and productivity: How strong is the connection? ‘Innovation’ is a much used (and abused) term employed to describe everything from flea collars for dogs[1] to electric cars. As a result, measuring innovation can be tricky, particularly in service sectors where firms’ relationships to customers are often individual and bespoke. Fortunately, the kind people at… Read more

The Mittelstand v Silicon Valley: Which model of entrepreneurship is most relevant for post-Brexit Britain?

Growth in the UK is slowing down as business investment declines amid Brexit uncertainty. Jobs growth too seems to be slowing particularly in scaling firms. As always, however, the UK’s entrepreneurial small-and-medium firms (SMEs) will play a key role in restoring future growth. But how should we ‘do’ entrepreneurship in the future? A recent research… Read more

Gazelle firms hoover up rural jobs – but ‘superstars’ boost productivity for all

• 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… Read more

‘Productivity from Below: Addressing the Productivity Challenges of Microbusinesses’.

The ERC are delighted to be involved in leading elements of the ‘Productivity from below: addressing the productivity challenges of microbusinesses‘ project, working with Monder Ram at CREME. Bringing together three leading research centres: the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and City-REDI (Regional Economic Development Institute) CREME… Read more

Building better business health

Building better business health: what can we learn from public health campaigns? The continuing productivity gap between the UK and its international competitors has focussed attention on the competitiveness of UK firms. So how can we boost the health and vitality of UK businesses? Or, more accurately, how can we encourage businesses themselves to take… 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

The Future of the ERC

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… Read more

Knowledge diffusion, innovation and productivity – changing the game in Wales

The current Brexit debate is important and the structure of the UK’s trading and migration arrangements with our international neighbours will influence our future prosperity. However, other more fundamental long term issues remain important for the UK around productivity. UK productivity lags significantly behind that of our main international competitors and Wales is at the… Read more

The future of productivity: Is innovation diffusion the answer?

Recent research by economists at the OECD presents a new perspective on what drives national productivity growth. This presents a challenge to the emphasis of current UK policy on world-leading innovation. The OECD start by recognising that in every world economy there are some ‘frontier firms’ which are internationally competitive and match global high standards… Read more