Should we be focusing only on growth businesses?

Should we be focusing only on growth businesses?

The desire to identify, model and support those businesses that start as micros (with under nine employees) and have the capacity and ambition to grow has been a goal of successive governments and students of economics for many years.

In the last month further academic research by the Enterprise Research Centre has taken a look at where growth businesses emerge from micros across all sectors, but it has also, interestingly, extolled the value of a large and varied micro business market in the UK and its benefits to the UK economy. 

Without a large volume in numbers starting up, what chance exists of a significant number growing and creating wealth and jobs in the future?  We need those larger employers, of course, but we should not overlook the value of the smaller and micro businesses or leave them with insufficient support.  It is those businesses that ART Business Loans, and other Community Development Finance Institutions, exist to support with access to finance.  They typically don’t fit the banks’ model for lending, yet need loans to support cashflow, survive, diversify and grow which protects and creates jobs.  Without ART, or similar support, many would go out of business.  We are also able to see the kind of additional support they need and we become aware of those with ambitions for high growth.

Most of the current public sector funding for business support in England is now under the strategic guidance of its 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).  Challenges remain for them as to how best to use that funding.  Many of the words used in LEP strategy documents highlight the need to support ‘growth businesses’, but there is less on how to identify and back the winners at an early stage.  Perhaps more effort is required to spread the net more broadly, which will also give the potential growth businesses more of a chance to reveal themselves.