Small Business Outlook 2014

Our health check of small and medium sized businesses across the UK's 64 largest cities.

Report published on 25 June 2014 by Centre for Cities

While the UK economy is starting to recover from recession, productivity growth still remains well below the pre-recession peak – a marked contrast to previous recessions. This year’s Small Business Outlook, supported by Zurich Insurance, investigates the city SMEs that are most likely to be productive and profitable, and so help to achieve a sustainable recovery and a boost to wages. These are firms adopting ‘high growth strategies’: competing on quality rather than price; pursuing innovation; investing in training; and offering customised goods and services.

The report provides a health check of the performance of SMEs in cities throughout the UK, and highlights the way business conditions in cities have played an important role in driving the success of firms. Cities able to facilitate businesses’ capacity to attract and retain skilled workers, access finance, and collaborate with other firms are more likely to be home to a larger number of high performing small organisations and start-ups.

The report makes several policy recommendations, including:

  • City leaders and government need to work together to ensure cities provide the best environment for businesses through skills and infrastructure investment, rather than trying to pick winners.
  • National government needs to enable cities to create the best environment for business by giving cities greater control over economic development and the ability to target policies according to their needs.
  • National government and cities need to ensure their education and training systems provides businesses with access to workers with the appropriate skills.
  • Cities should also explore ways to incentivise and enable SMEs to invest in training.

Watch this short animation introducing the report:

Click below to see the infographics related to the report:

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Small Business Outlook is supported by Zurich Insurance plc. Graphics and animation by Soapbox.

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