Reports says SMEs need more support as growth slows

The Enterprise Research Centre’s (ERC) tenth annual ‘State of Small Business Britain’ report has found small business growth in the UK has slowed over the last decade, and the ERC recommends that government focus on creating a framework that helps more SMEs to achieve growth, sustainability and resilience.

The proportion of small firms that were expanding their workforce fell 40% between 2012 and 2022. The new report warns the support available to SMEs is currently insufficient and too fragmented and that, in particular, SMEs need more investment and support on exports, innovation, achieving net zero and supporting employees with their mental health.

The ERC’s core leadership and research team is based at Warwick and Aston business schools and work in partnership with experts in the SME field.

Its director Stephen Roper -  also professor of enterprise at Warwick Business School - said: “It is often stated that small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, and rightly so. Small businesses make up more than 99% of the business population and account for around 50% of jobs. Our research underlines the enormous changes these small businesses have had to deal with over the last decade. We have seen rapid advances in technology and growing pressure for action on net zero alongside the substantial challenges posed by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and cost of living rises. We need a coordinated effort from government and business organisations to help small businesses face the future with confidence.”


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