Type:
Theme:

Our research publications are divided into three main categories tailored to different audiences.

White Papers are primarily for a policy / practitioners audience and aim to provide an accessible and authoritative review of the key points of theory and evidence in a particular area and its relevance to SME growth. Papers will identify areas of agreement and contention of the evidence base, identify areas where policy intervention/support is required and identify future research is required to clarify policy needs.

Research Papers are primarily intended for an academic audience and will form the basis of research papers that are subsequently submitted for formal peer review.

Insights are for a broad audience and offer a short commentary from ERC researchers on topical research and policy issues related to SME growth.

ERC Research Paper. Creating Value in Ecosystems. Research Paper No 22

CREATING VALUE IN ECOSYSTEMS:CROSSING THE CHASM BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND BUSINESS ECOSYSTEMS

Associated Themes

  • Finance and Governance
Research Paper

The legacy of public subsidies for innovation: input, output and behavioural additionality effects

The Legacy of Public Subsidies for Innovation

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Knowledge context, learning and innovation: an integrating framework. Enterprise Research Centre ( ERC ) Research Paper No 20

Knowledge context, learning and innovation: an integrating framework. Enterprise Research Centre ( ERC ) Research Paper No 20
In this paper we develop a framework to identify those elements of firms’ knowledge context which are important for innovation, and the mechanisms through which that knowledge impacts on firms’ innovation performance. We make four main contributions to the existing literature. First, our characterisation of knowledge context provides the basis for a more specific identification of which elements of firms’ knowledge environment are important for innovation, discriminating between spatial, industrial and network influences. Second, we reflect the role of innovation ambition in shaping firms’ knowledge search strategies. Third, we differentiate between firms’ interactive and non-interactive knowledge search activities and recognise that these may be complemented by unanticipated and serendipitous knowledge spillovers. Finally, we introduce the notion of encoding capacity to reflect firms’ internal ability to assimilate and apply external knowledge. Our framework provides an integrating mechanism for existing empirical studies, suggests a number of new research directions related to the determinants of innovation performance and the heterogeneity of innovation outcomes.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Small firm-large firm Relationships

Small firm-large firm relationships and the implications for small firm innovation: what do we know?

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
White Paper

UK’s Hidden Growth Champions (Insight Paper No 8)

The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) has developed an alternative approach to identifying groups of fast-growing firms which contribute disproportionately to job creation and output. This will have significant implications for policy discussions on the relative importance of SMEs and which types of firms drive growth in the economy.

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
Insight

Growing Global – Moving Up the Exporting Ladder (Insights Paper No 7)

Much has been done to support SME exporting in the UK in recent years. Only around a quarter of UK SMEs currently export, however, and a very small group - only 6 per cent of SMEs - currently export more than 50 per cent of their sales. For a very significant proportion of UK SMEs, therefore, the potential opportunities provided by exporting remain unexploited. Who are these SMEs? This question is important if we are to effectively target support and enable these firms to reap the growth benefits of exporting. ERC research helps to identify some markers of export potential which should allow more effective profile-led marketing of export support.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Insight

Financing Growth (Insights Paper No 6)

Recent ERC research provides new insights into bank borrowing among UK SMEs and emphasises the potential value of effective company boards in helping firms to access appropriate finance. The evidence suggests that only around 1 in 7 small businesses in the UK seek bank funding. Yet we know that firms which do utilise external finance grow more rapidly. As the upswing takes hold what can be done to encourage more small firms to seek external finance to support their growth? Recent ERC research provides some of the answers and highlights other ‘known unknowns’.

Associated Themes

  • Finance and Governance
Insight

Explaining the US-UK Ambition Gap (Insights Paper No 5)

Data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor highlights a persistent gap between the US and the UK in the proportion of business owner-managers with high growth expectations. Professor Jonathan Levie examines the evidence and finds that employers in the UK and the US are in fact equally likely to be ambitious. He concludes that the ambition gap is a result of a rising proportion of new self-employed with no employees and relatively low growth ambition in the UK and a significant increase in the number of established business owners with employees in the US.

Associated Themes

  • Ambition
Insight

Unpacking open innovation (Research Paper No 19)

We explore the relationship between two key aspects of open innovation in small firms – absorptive capacity and external relationships – and their effects on growth in the US and European biopharmaceutical sectors. Results from an international sample of 349 biopharmaceutical firms surveyed in the US, UK, France and Germany suggest that realized absorptive capacity plays an important role in determining firms’ growth. In terms of the interaction between firms’ absorptive capacity and external relationships, we find that engagement with exploratory relationships depends strongly on the continuity of R&D, while participation in exploitative relationships is more conditional on firms’ realized absorptive capacity.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Innovation or imitation: Which boosts growth in recession? (Insights Paper No 4)

Innovation or imitation which leads to faster growth? Innovation – introducing products or services which are new to the market – may yield first mover advantages. Imitation – introducing new to the firm but not new to the market products or services is a safer, more conservative strategy. Drawing on data from UK innovation surveys, Stephen Roper, Director of ERC identifies some key trends

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Insight

The Financing of Diverse Enterprises: Evidence from the SME Finance Monitor (Research Paper No 18)

This paper contributes to our understanding of the finance issues currently facing diverse SMEs by presenting a new analysis of the SME Finance Monitor. While prior studies have contributed substantial evidence regarding the effects of either gender or ethnicity on finance outcomes, these analyses have typically focused on either women-owned or ethnic minority owned enterprises. This study considers the experiences and outcomes of both women-owned and ethnic minority-owned enterprises, including the interaction effects of ethnicity and gender.

Associated Themes

  • Diversity
Research Paper

Back to Borrowing? (White Paper No 8)

Discouraged Borrowers (DBs) are businesses which would like to borrow but which do not apply for bank finance because they either feel they would be turned down (‘indirectly discouraged’), or they've made informal enquiries but not proceeded with their application because the bank seemed reluctant to lend (‘directly discouraged’). We know a lot about who discouraged borrowers are but little about what influences whether a small business owner is discouraged or not. This paper explores those factors in more detail and identifies SME's dissatisfaction with their banking relationship as a key driver.

Associated Themes

  • Finance and Governance
White Paper

Innovation, Innovation Strategy and Survival (Research Paper No 17)

Innovation has a recognised effect on survival. Undertaking more risky innovation may increase the risk of business failure, while incremental innovation may reduce the risk. This paper investigates how firms’ innovation strategy choices affect the relationship between innovation and firm survival. The research suggests the notion of “survival additionality”, i.e. firms receiving public support derive more persistent benefits from innovation than firms which did not receive public support.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Is There An Entrepreneurial Culture? (Research Paper No 16)

Understanding the impact of national culture alone and in interaction with other contextual factors, is important for refining our knowledge of how entrepreneurs think and act. This paper presents a review of the literature on the link between cultural values and entrepreneurial beliefs, motives and behaviours. It suggests that there may not be a single entrepreneurial culture and suggests areas for future research.

Associated Themes

  • Leadership
Research Paper

Moving on from the ‘Vital 6%’ (Insights Paper No 3)

High-Growth Firms (HGFs) represent only a small minority - the ‘Vital 6%’ - of the UK business population yet they have a disproportionate impact on job creation and innovation. This paper confirms the headline conclusion for job creation: that is, a small number of job creating firms (mostly small firms) are responsible for a significant amount of net job creation in the UK. It also suggests the existence of a smaller group of 'extraordinarily prolific job creating firms' who were micro firms in 1998 and now employ almost 100,000 people.

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
Insight

Localisation of Industrial Activity across England’s LEPs: 2008 & 2012 (Research Paper No 15)

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills commissioned the ERC to undertake an analysis of industrial clusters in the UK and to use the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as the sub-national spatial frame in England. The analysis is designed as an information source for the LEPs as they prepare their new strategic economic plans.

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
Research Paper

Developing Alliance Formation Process Capabilities (Research Paper No 13)

This paper examines the processes that firms use to form strategic alliances. Drawing on data from 1063 US based firms who created R&D consortia over a 22 year period, it considers whether companies replicate existing approaches, gained from prior experience, in forming subsequent alliances or whether they can develop new skills as they adapt to changing conditions. It suggests that prior experience is a significant factor affecting subsequent formation processes and longer experience tends to increase the chances that firms will replicate a given approach. It also finds that smaller firms may be more able to flex their approach.

Associated Themes

  • Leadership
Research Paper

Openness and Innovation Performance: Are Small Firms Different? (Research Paper No 12)

Traditionally, literature on open innovation ( the number of links a firm has to customers, suppliers and other firms) has concentrated on analysis of larger firms. This paper explores if and how the benefits of openness in innovation are different for small firms compared to medium and large ones. It suggests that small firms can benefit disproportionately from adopting open innovation approaches but that they reach the benefits of this approach at lower levels than medium and larger firms making the choice of innovation partner critical.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

UK Mid-Market – ‘Overlooked Middle’ or Lair of the Hidden Champions? (Insights Paper No 2)

This paper highlights two alternative views of the UK mid-market. The ‘overlooked middle’ perspective emphasises that UK economic policy in relation to Medium Sized Businesses (MSBs) has been symbolic rather than substantive, lacking scale and consistency. The 'Hidden Champions' perspective recognises the rapid growth of leading MSBs and the lack of acknowledgement they receive in the UK.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Insight

Entrepreneurship as Ethnic Minority Liberation (Research Paper No 11)

Entrepreneurship has long been seen as a route to socio-economic advancement for disadvantaged communities. This paper explores to what extent ethnic minority entrepreneurship promotes socio-economic advancement and suggests that the context in which the entrepreneurship exists is an important determinant and that entrepreneurship itself cannot be seen as the only or preferred route.

Associated Themes

  • Diversity
Research Paper

Entrepreneurial Families and Households (Research Paper No 10)

The role of Households and Families in influencing entrepreneurship has long been underestimated. This paper explores the intricate relationship between the Household and the enterprise including the role it plays in identifying business opportunities and providing resources to new and existing ventures.

Associated Themes

  • Diversity
Research Paper

Who Takes Advice? (Research Paper No 9)

This paper explores the characteristics of small firms who take advice and those that do not. It finds a number of factors associated with taking advice including the longevity of an owner-managers education, whether the business has growth objectives and, most significantly, a size threshold at 10 employees at which taking advice becomes much more likely. It suggests that significant challenges arise in making the transition to 10 employees or more and that further research is needed to understand this transition.

Associated Themes

  • Leadership
Research Paper

Supporting Sustained Growth Among SMEs (White Paper No 7)

Among SMEs high growth is often episodic and not sustained. This paper reviews a number of international support measures designed to give SMEs the capabilities and resources to sustain fast growth.

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
  • Innovation and Exporting
White Paper

Gearing up for Growth Vouchers (Insights Paper No 1)

This paper suggests some key lessons for the Growth Vouchers scheme based on the experience of the Nesta Creative Credits Project.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Insight

Private Equity, Buy-outs, and Insolvency Risk (Research Paper No 8)

Private Equity restructuring using debt has been criticised for increasing financial distress and bankruptcy. This paper compares the insolvency hazard of various buy-out types within the corporate population and investigates the risk profile of the companies pre-buyout.

Associated Themes

  • Finance and Governance
Research Paper

Burden or Benefit? Regulation as a dynamic influence on SME performance (Research Paper No 7)

This paper contributes to contemporary debates concerning the impact of regulation on small business performance in the UK.

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
Research Paper

Paradigm Shift or Business as Usual? (Research Paper No 6)

This paper explores the claims of a ‘paradigm shift’ towards firms using open innovation as a conscious strategic choice.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

HRM, Organisational Culture and Entrepreneurial Capabilities (Research Paper No 5)

This paper explores the role of individual and collective knowledge processes in the capacities for acquiring, integrating and exploiting new knowledge and the influences they exert on long term organisational performance and growth.

Associated Themes

  • Leadership
Research Paper

An Experimental Approach to Industrial Policy Evaluation: the Case of Creative Credits (Research Paper No 4)

This paper considers the arguments for applying experimental methods to industrial policy measures and proposes an experimental policy evaluation approach

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Understanding Fear of Failure in Enterpreneurship (Research Paper No 3)

There is a broadly held assumption within the entrepreneurship literature that fear of failure is always and only an inhibitor of entrepreneurial behaviour. This paper provides a theoretic framework of the antecedents, moderators and consequences of fear of failure.

Associated Themes

  • Leadership
Research Paper

Accounting for Job Growth (Research Paper No 2)

It has recently been recognised that conclusions about firm size were confounded by the effect of the age of the firm. This paper explores the role of size, controlling for age, by comparing the cohorts of firms born in 1998 over their first decade of life.

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
Research Paper

Business Survival and the Role of Boards (Research Paper No 1)

This paper examines the question of whether family firms are more likely to survive than non-family firms, focusing on the role of board composition.

Associated Themes

  • Finance and Governance
Research Paper

Firm Dynamics and Job Creation in the UK (White Paper No 6)

A consistent theme in the discussion of attempts to stimulate economic recovery in the UK is a recognition of the need to unlock the growth potential of the private sector. This paper explores the simple question – “What types of firms create the most jobs in the UK economy?”

Associated Themes

  • Business Demography
White Paper

SME Innovation, Exporting and Growth (White Paper No 5)

SMEs which have a track record of innovation are more likely to export, export successfully and generate growth from exporting than non-innovating firms. This paper explores the existing evidence.

Associated Themes

  • Innovation and Exporting
White Paper

What Do We Know About The Relationship Between Entrepreneurial Finance and Growth? (White Paper No 4)

This paper explores what we know about the relationship between entrepreneurial finance and growth in SMEs in the UK.

Associated Themes

  • Finance and Governance
White Paper

Diversity and SMEs (White Paper No 3)

This paper explores the existing evidence, complexity and policy tensions that exists for diverse groups operating SMEs in the UK.

Associated Themes

  • Diversity
White Paper

Entrepreneurial Leadership, Capabilities and Growth (White Paper No 2)

SME growth depends upon substantive growth capabilities, which are shaped by the upstream issues of leadership and capability development. This paper presents a review of the existing evidence.

Associated Themes

  • Leadership
White Paper

Growth and Growth Intentions (White Paper No 1)

This white paper summarises what we know about the connection between entrepreneurs’ growth intentions and realised enterprise growth.

Associated Themes

  • Ambition
White Paper