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Scale-up problems for small firms addressed

Research from Cambridge Judge and Oxford Saïd business schools, convened by Barclays, recommends ways to help UK entrepreneurs scale up for growth.
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Entrepreneurs in Britain need to develop effective management systems, establish partnerships and leverage their competitive strengths in order to scale up effectively, according to research from Cambridge Judge Business School contained in a new report launched today (25 April) by bank Barclays.

The report entitled “Scale-up UK: Growing Business, Growing our Economy” addresses the critical need to break down barriers to small business scaling-up and develop solutions to help UK companies grow and create more jobs.

The report draws on research from teams at Cambridge Judge Business School, which focused on fostering effective management and skill sets for sustained growth, and Oxford Saïd Business School, which examined the role of finance in scaling-up by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“Most SMEs experience zero or little growth,” says the Cambridge Judge section of the report. “Although ‘gazelles’, the companies that grow turnover by 20 per cent for three consecutive years, are much talked about they are in fact a rare species: they are responsible for most of SME growth but they amount to only two per cent to four per cent of SMEs.”

The scaling-up of small businesses is a key focus area of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, which includes the SME Growth Club that examines managerial and financial issues holding back growth in smaller firms.

The team from Cambridge Judge who worked on the report, that was issued today, was comprised of Director Christoph Loch, Director of Research Stelios Kavadias, Executive Education CEO Peter Hiscocks, and PhD candidate Francisco Brahm.

The report stemmed from discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos involving both universities and business groups about the need for more effective small business scale-up.

“The challenges affecting business growth in the UK must be addressed for the sake of long-term economic growth and job creation,” said Barclays CEO Jes Staley. “The report is one step towards helping more businesses achieve their growth ambitions, but it is an important step and one that we look forward to building on.”

The part of the report by Cambridge Judge issues six key recommendations for start-ups: have a commitment to grow; build a strong, broad management team; strike partnerships and other alliances; develop formalised systems to expand; identify and implement core competences; and use competitive strengths to spread into new markets for economies of scale.