Enterprise Research Centre

The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) is the UK’s leading independent research institute on growth, productivity and innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 


Established in 2013, the ERC provides high-quality, independent research and analysis to inform government policy on SMEs. It is a go-to reference point for anyone looking for robust, trusted data and insights on SME performance. Our work shapes better policies and practices that enable SMEs to thrive.

As well as contributing to academic knowledge, the ERC’s work has equipped policymakers and practitioners with a better understanding of issues surrounding SME growth and development across the UK. Research undertaken at the centre has provided fresh insight into topics critical to the competitiveness of the 
economy. We communicate our research widely to ensure we maximise its policy impact. 

Core funding for the Centre is currently provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK (IUK), the British Business Bank (BBB) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). In addition, the ERC also undertakes commissioned work for a range of organisations.

To find out more about the ERC, visit our dedicated website.

ERC's activities

Research and Data Analysis

High-quality research and data analysis that improves the understanding of SME development, growth and performance. The Centre is a leading provider of information about firms starting up and scaling up. Our annual Local Growth Dashboard is a comprehensive source of LEP level SME performance data.

Policy Insights

Useful advice and recommendations that shape policies and practices to enable SMEs to thrive. Our research has informed policy debate on local productivity differences, the finance landscape for small firms and building resilience in under-represented firms. See our latest research insights.

Research Topics

Our research is project based and covers a range of themes including:

  • Business and Growth
  • Diversity
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Innovation
  • Management & Leadership
  • Productivity & Performance

Upcoming projects will aim to understand the digital readiness of small firms and the impact of competition on local growth and productivity dynamics.


Bringing together the best available evidence on SMEs and making it easily accessible. Our curated, state-of-the-art reviews bring together the latest research and policy thinking on topics ranging from female entrepreneurship to FDI and local productivity.