ERC launch to boost business performance

Enterprise Centre

15 January 2013

A new £2.9m Enterprise Research Centre designed to boost the performance of the UK’s small and medium-sized companies has been officially launched.

Aston Business School and Warwick Business School have joined forces to create the Enterprise Research Centre. The Centre’s research will inform Government policy to help create the right environment for SMEs and entrepreneurs to flourish and so support the UK’s economic recovery.

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.

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

The ERC Launch on Monday, January 14th at University of Warwick was attended by the vice-chancellors of both host universities, Dame Professor Julia King, Aston University and Professor Nigel Thrift from Warwick, along with other dignitaries.

Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business & Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, said;“Aston Business School is a global leader in the understanding and nurturing of high growth firms and our joint research will be applied to help companies to grow, identify opportunities and create new jobs.  It highlights our contribution to the areas of enterprise, innovation and firm performance over a number of years for engagement and impact with business as well as research. The launch of this new Centre will be of real benefit and importance for business in the West Midlands.”

ERC director, Professor Stephen Roper, wants the Centre 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; “We have three main ambitions for the centre: 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. The aim of the launch is to rapidly establish the position of the ERC as part of the SME research and policy landscape in the UK and to introduce the ERC as a source of evidence-based, independent, and trustworthy intelligence and advice on issues related to SME growth.”

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.

“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 also welcome the opportunity to work with the Enterprise Research Centre funders – Economic and Social Research Council, 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.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon said; “The Government is determined to do all it can to help our businesses to compete, thrive and create jobs. This new research centre will ensure we get behind businesses in the most effective way possible. It will provide intelligence and advice on drivers and barriers to growth that can then be used to shape policy. Good quality, independent and trustworthy evidence is an important element of the decision making process."

ESRC chief executive Paul Boyle added;  “Supporting economic performance and sustainable growth, and developing collaborative partnerships with business and government are key priorities for the ESRC. The new Enterprise Research Centre brings together significant and complementary strengths from all of the research partners involved. It will provide high-quality research on enterprise which will develop our theoretical and empirical understanding of the factors affecting business investment, performance and growth. By working together we can generate research which will directly benefit business and inform policy development.”

Visit the Enterprise Research Centre website for further information

For further media information, please contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549 or


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