Case Studies: small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

How publicly-funded initiatives can can help cities attract new businesses and improve SMEs performance

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those in the most innovative sectors, are important drivers of employment and output growth. An efficient business support system, easy to navigate, evaluate and manage is essential to facilitate the creation and prosperity of businesses. Publicly-funded initiatives such as business advice, improved access to finance and funding, and knowledge exchange and innovation, can help cities attract new businesses and improve private-sector performance, in particular for SMEs.

Use the table below to find out more about how and what cities and places in the UK have done to support and grow their SME base. These case studies highlight what the cities did and their self-reported outcomes.

To find out more about what types of policy interventions have an impact on local economic growth from across OECD countries, as well as evidence-based policy design guides, take a look at the What Works Centre pages on Business Advice, Access to Finance, and Innovation.

Key Reports

Case Studies

Case study Policy aim Location Country Lead organisation(s)
1. Providing finance for social enterprises and SMEs Provide financial support for SMEs Wolverhampton UK The Black Country Reinvestment Society
2. Using a business-to-business voucher scheme Provide financial support for SMEs Manchester UK Nesta, Manchester City Council
3. Encouraging SMEs and start-ups activity Deliver one-to-one consultations to local businesses Lincolnshire UK Lincolnshire Business Support
4. Managing HR and administrative functions on behalf of employers Support apprenticeships in SMEs Glasgow UK Glasgow Guarantee
5. Lowering costs for employers with Apprenticeship Training Agencies Support apprenticeships in SMEs London UK London Apprenticeship Company
6. Creating professional apprenticeships for SMEs Support apprenticeships in SMEs London UK PwC, Greater London Authority
7. Increasing employer involvement in the design of training programmes (II) Support apprenticeships in SMEs Sheffield city region UK Sheffield City Region LEP
8. Fostering a culture of open innovation through collaboration Embed SMEs into local networks and supply chain Scotland UK Interface Food & Drink
9. Using large ‘anchor’ firms Embed SMEs into local networks and supply chain Warwick and Sheffield UK Warwick Manufacturing Group

Part of the Business and Enterprise Case Studies Library