At the end of November last year, Graham Marley attended the 3rd annual State of Small Business Britain Conference, hosted by the Enterprise Research Centre at The Shard in London. The conference was attended by over 100 delegates and was co-hosted with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme. The day featured presentations from a […]
At the end of November last year, Graham Marley attended the 3rd annual State of Small Business Britain Conference, hosted by the Enterprise Research Centre at The Shard in London. The conference was attended by over 100 delegates and was co-hosted with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme. The day featured presentations from a mix of academic and policy speakers. New research from the ERC was presented along with topical panel discussions involving speakers from business and local and national policy organisations.
Graham Marley attended the conference and in this blog he shares some of his key takeaways from the conference.
Professor Mark Hart, Deputy Director of ERC chaired a lively panel discussion reflecting on local growth, with panellists Susanna Lawson (OneFile Ltd), James Phipps (Nesta), Lee Hopley (EEF), and Sarah Middleton (Black Country Consortium Ltd) offering perspectives from the worlds of small business and national and local policy. There were several stimulating questions from the audience which set the tone for a day full of interesting discussion and observation. Professor Hart suggested that in terms of supporting growth, the government should not support start-ups, arguing that you get roughly the same number of start-ups with or without government intervention, and that only 2% turn into high growth businesses.
For me, this completely misses the point that this support improves survivability, and supports inclusion. While his focus was on how to get more high growth businesses, there was no acknowledgement of the fact that providing people with support early on makes them much more likely to keep taking support, and consequently grow. Not to mention that providing support also leads to greater potential for those with good growth prospects, making it easier for them to be identified much more quickly than if they were ploughing a lone furrow.
Mark also reflected on the different types of growth pipeline. He came up with an interesting set of definitions which should be considered when developing a Growth Pipeline:
- Potential and nascent entrepreneurs
- Lone rangers and unwilling self employed
- Steady Eddies – low risk tolerances
- Rising stars – strong ambition but need leadership skills
- Leading lights – sustained growth ambition
Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the All Party Group (APPG) on Inclusive Growth gave an interesting keynote and spoke about the implications of the decline in earnings in the UK, pointing to a growing consensus for action. He said that an entrepreneurial policy is a key output the APPG want.
Cliff Prior CBE, CEO of Big Society Capital looked at the importance of social investment and growing social ventures in the UK. He pointed to a growing sense of inter-generational hopelessness amongst disadvantaged communities as well as mounting pressure on traditional social services, identifying a clear role for a growing movement of social entrepreneurs and mission-led businesses. He noted that one in four businesses now has a social or environmental mission and also said that Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are really important – saying there was “no other game in town” for many people looking to start and grow a business which I felt was really interesting.
A full wrap up of the event is available online.