April Newsletter from ERC
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ERC News & Engagement
Current ERC projects
The ERC team are currently working on two evidence reviews focussed on the drivers of growth in different types of small firms defined by age and growth potential and on the contribution of these different groups of firms to national productivity growth. The reviews include both some new business demographic analysis and an integration of current academic research. Both reviews will be completed by end-May.Other on-going research focuses on human resource practices and innovation and a business demographics perspective on productivity change.
If you are interested in particular projects and would like to join a workshop, please let us know.
Take a look at the 2016 Projects here

New Project funded by BIS
The SME Finance Monitor (SMEFM) undertaken by BDRC-Continental provides quarterly snapshot data on SME sentiment around past and future financing needs, the experience of SMEs that applied for external finance, and what (if anything) stopped those who did not apply from doing so. It also provides data on the extent to which SMEs are aware of the various forms of support available to them when accessing finance. To date, more than 90,000 interviews have been completed since the survey was first conducted in 2011, but the longitudinal, consequential performance of SMEs cannot be determined.  BIS anticipates merit in the analytical power of linking SMEFM data to the Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR) managed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to add significantly to the explanatory power of the survey data.
ERC together with BDRC have been commissioned by BIS to undertake this project.
Matching datasets would allow businesses’ attitudes, behaviours and experiences of seeking finance at the time of being interviewed for the SMEFM to be related to their future (and past) performance (annual employment and turnover). For example, it could produce reliable answers to a series of ‘what happened next’ type questions, such as:

•  What were the characteristics and experiences of ‘happy non-seekers’ and would-be seekers of finance - both for the year before they were interviewed and looking forward?

•  What happened to businesses planning to apply for external finance - and how did those that did apply/did not apply subsequently perform?

•  How do ‘Permanent non-Borrowers’ perform in comparison to borrowers?

•  How does access to finance and performance of businesses planning to grow differ from those without such ambition?

This project, led by Mark Hart and Karen Bonner, will provide an initial analysis of some of these issues and create a data resource which can be used by other approved researchers.
EEN Annual Conference
Stephen Roper spoke to the Enterprise Europe Network annual conference in Newcastle on 9th March. His presentation focussed on the links between innovation, exporting and productivity. It emphasised the link between new to the market innovation and a global rather than European export footprint. International collaboration with universities can also help smaller firms to develop new to the market innovation and develop global export profiles.
The presentation drew on ERC research published this year and on-going work on the benefits of international university collaboration for small firms.
Read the ERC paper "Experience, age and exporting performance in UK SMEs" here.

News from our new RFs
ESRC Access to Finance for SMEs Conference Series 
Enrico Vanino, ERC Research Fellow attended the ESRC Access to Finance for  Emerging Market Enterprises ( SMEs) Seminar at University of Birmingham on March 22nd.
The workshop focused on the access to finance for SMEs, with particular interest to businesses owned by ethnic minorities.
The workshop presented the latest trends in SMEs access to finance, based mainly on the data provided by BDRC Continental “SME Finance Monitor” (report and data available at: 
The analysis of this data has been particularly interesting differentiating the access to finance for SMEs in terms of size (0 employees, 1-9, 10-50 and 50-250 employees) and by age looking in particular at start-ups (<2 years). First, it has highlighted a general decrease over the last 4 years in the recurrence to external finance by SMEs, in particular for 0 employees firms, registering instead an increase of trade credits, the utilization of personal funds and a general growth in the number of “happy non-seekers” (almost 76%), SMEs that haven’t required and don’t need access to external sources of finance. 
Finally, the seminar  discussed  some alternative and increasing sources of finance used by SMEs (i.e. P2P, Islamic finance, equity and venture capitals) and the effect of agglomeration, spatial distribution, relational skills and credit scoring on SMEs financing strategies.          
“Alternative Finance for Entrepreneurs: The Changing Face of Financial Markets”
ERC Research Fellow Dr Oksana Koryak attended the 2nd ERC funded Alternative Finance Workshop hosted by Hertfordshire Business School and focussed on further building the Community of Interest in Alternative Finance in collaboration with Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE).
Invited speakers led discussions on recent trends and ongoing transformations in the equity finance, community finance, and crowdfunding markets. It was noted that crowdfunding is no longer a pure “peer to peer” phenomenon with institutions (fund managers, family offices) and local councils investing and lending alongside individuals.
Implications for new research and teaching were explored during the open round table discussions and a number of interesting avenues for future research were identified, including
  • To what extent does equity crowdfunding complement or substitute VC and angel investment?
  • Does it add value beyond finance provision?
  • Is the governance of hybrid investor syndicates different and why.
It would be important to determine the policy implications for competition in the market for entrepreneurial finance.

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ERC Projects 
ERC Monthly Seminar
The ERC monthly seminar will be held at Aston University on Tuesday April 12th.
Presentations will be made by ERC Research Fellows Enrico Vanino & Areti Gkypali.
Enrico Vanino
"Outsourced R&D and export performance: resource optimization or market-seeking?"

Areti Gkypali
"R&D Collaborations: Is Diversity Enhancing Innovation Performance?"
Read the full Abstracts here.
To attend this Seminar, or for further information  
Email us.
The ERC website is currently being updated and we look forward to the launch later this month with improved features including
Directors blog,
news, publications and events. 
Copyright © 2016 Enterprise Research Centre, All rights reserved.

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