Warwick Business School to co-lead new £2.9m Enterprise Research Centre for SMEs

Warwick Business School is joining forces with Aston Business School to create a new £2.9m Enterprise Research Centre to boost the performance of the UK’s SMEs.

The ERC is being launched in Global Entrepreneurship Week and its research will help drive Government policy to give SMEs and entrepreneurs the right environment to flourish and so power the UK economy out of its current depression.

Funding for the centre has come from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the British Bankers Association (BBA), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Technology Strategy Board.

A bid headed by Warwick Business School’s Professor Stephen Roper and Aston Business School’s Mark Hart won the contract to develop the ERC and they are now looking forward to mapping out the path for future growth for the UK’s SMEs.

Warwick and Aston University will work alongside a consortium of other universities including Strathclyde, Birmingham, De Montfort and Imperial College London.

Professor Roper, who will be director of the centre, wants the ERC to become the focal point for advice, research and information for SMEs up and down the country.

Professor Roper, who is Associate Dean, Professor of Enterprise and Director of the Centre for SMEs at Warwick Business School, said: “As researchers involved in the Enterprise Research Centre we have three main ambitions: to conduct and publish exciting and novel research; to provide the evidence for better growth strategy in the UK; and to establish the Enterprise Research Centre as a reference point for anyone interested in issues around business growth.

“I am delighted to be leading the Enterprise Research Centre with Professor Mark Hart from Aston Business School. The centre is a strong consortium with research teams in Warwick Business School and Aston Business Schools and excellent research partners in Imperial, Strathclyde and Birmingham universities. By working together we will generate world-class research which will both benefit business and inform UK policy development.”

The ERC’s work will be vital in making sure the Government makes evidence-based decisions for long-term policy and to improve the business environment.

“Each of the research partners bring significant and complementary strengths to the Enterprise Research Centre,” said Professor Roper, who put together a huge study on the UK’s medium-sized companies called Leading From the Middle: The Untold Story of British Business. “This will allow the centre to research important issues including business ambition, leadership and management, finance, innovation, productivity and diversity. Our key objective is to provide policy-makers and SME managers with the evidence they need to make good decisions for growth.

“We welcome too the opportunity to work with the Enterprise Research Centre funders – ESRC, the British Bankers Association, the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – on this project.

“Each plays an important role in supporting growing businesses in the UK and we hope our research will inform their activities and so benefit UK growth.”

Warwick Business School Dean Mark Taylor said: “It is fantastic news that Warwick Business School along with Aston Business School have been chosen to help lead the implementation of a new Enterprise Research Centre.

“I know that Professor Stephen Roper in conjunction with colleagues at other institutions have worked hard on this proposal and credit must go to all involved.

“WBS already has the Centre for SMEs and to be so heavily involved in the Enterprise Research Centre shows how important the School is becoming in assisting companies to find a way to grow during these tough economic times.

“We pride ourselves on the research produced at WBS, research that is used in the real world and has a practical impact – the Enterprise Research Centre is strong recognition of that.”

University of Warwick Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (Arts and Social Sciences) Professor Stuart Croft added: “The success of the Warwick Business School team underlines again the strength of the social sciences at Warwick and shows that it is at the highest level of international research.”

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