Research Themes

The ERC’s research activity is divided into six themes and reflects the fact that despite considerable research attention over the last 30 years the evidence base for SME policy and strategy formulation remains incomplete. As a result, growth strategy and policy remain sub-optimal.

The vast majority of research on SME growth has focused on explaining firm-level drivers and barriers to growth with limited consideration being given to either the structure, aspirations and capabilities of the leadership team or the context within which the firm is operating. Equally, a failure to recognise the multi-dimensionality of ‘growth’ itself (i.e., growth in employees; revenues; profits; value; high-growth versus low-growth versus variable growth) means that policy is often insufficiently fine-grained.

The ERC’s research programme is intended to address these issues. Three research themes focus on the entrepreneur and leadership team and centre on entrepreneurial ambition, leadership capabilities and diversity. Three other research themes have the SME as the unit of analysis and focus on finance and performance, innovation and firm demographics and productivity.

Our research themes are: