Enterprise Research Centre Launches

Aston Business School

12 November 2012

Aston and Warwick Universities have been chosen to host a new Enterprise Research Centre that will help develop understanding of the factors affecting business investment, performance and growth.

The new £2.9 million centre will become a national and international focal point for research, knowledge and expertise on small and medium-sized businesses.

A key objective of the Centre, which launches on 1 January 2013, will be to provide policy-makers and SME managers with the evidence they need to make good decisions for growth and development in the UK. It will exploit and develop existing knowledge base and data resources, strengthen the links between evidence and practice, and inform Government policy and business practice for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It is a joint collaboration between 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.

Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the new Centre and Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, said;This is a unique opportunity to further strengthen our high-profile work on small firm growth at Aston and we look forward working with our national partners to undertake some ground-breaking research projects to establish the Centre as the leading international voice for small business research.  We have an exciting research programme set out on various aspects of small business growth and we will be working with our funders to ensure it can inform the ways in which they can work together to deliver more growth in the sector”.

Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon, who announced the successful Aston and Warwick Centre partnership at the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week UK (Monday, November 12) ,said; “It is essential we listen to our SMEs and understand what makes them tick and how we can help them grow. By collaborating with partners and bringing together leading academics, the new Enterprise Research Centre will be able formulate long term policy that will help to stimulate economic growth in the UK.”

Aston University Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King, believes the Centre is great news for Aston and more importantly businesses in the West Midlands.

“This newly created Enterprise Centre reinforces the fact that Birmingham is a place where business can flourish. It also recognises that Aston Business School is a global leader in the understanding and nurturing of the high growth firms. Research conducted by Professor Mark Hart and his team – including partners at Warwick University – at the Enterprise Centre will be applied to help companies to grow, identify opportunities and create new jobs.”

Professor Nigel Driffield, Executive Dean at Aston Business School, said; “I am genuinely delighted that the Enterprise Research Centre will be based at Aston Business School. It highlights our contribution to the areas of enterprise, innovation and firm performance over a number of years. Further, it enhances our reputation as a leading business school for engagement and impact as well as research.”

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, added; "Supporting economic performance and sustainable growth, and developing collaborative partnerships with business and policy are key priorities for the ESRC. I am pleased to be working with the British Bankers Association, the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop this new Enterprise Research Centre. Our complementary knowledge and experience make us ideal partners in this investment and by working together we will generate research which will directly benefit business and inform policy development."

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

For further information contact:

ESRC Press Office:

Sarah Nichols
Telephone 01793 413122

Jeanine Woolley
Telephone 01793 413119


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Notes for editors

1.  The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at www.esrc.ac.uk

2. The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit: Technology Strategy Board website

3. The British Bankers’ Association is the leading trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector. It speaks for over 200 banking members which have operations in 180 countries worldwide. The major UK banks supporting the Enterprise Research Centre are Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, HSBC Bank PLC, Barclays Bank PLC, Lloyds TSB Bank PLC and Bank of Scotland PLC.

 BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.