The Birmingham Economic Review 2017: Enterprise

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The Birmingham Economic Review was produced in October 2017 by City-REDI, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and the West Midlands Growth Company.

The review highlights the current strengths and weakness of the Birmingham economy, as well as looking at the opportunities and threats that might impact upon it in the future.

This is a commentary on Chapter 8 of the Review, Enterprise:

Enterprise is the key to economic growth: a loud refrain heard from all quarters, promoting the survival and growth of enterprise in the region continue to be a key tool to delivering the policy objectives of promoting economic growth and rebalancing the economy. It is also fundamental to achieving wider social objectives of tackling deprivation, revitalising communities, building and promoting cohesion.

It is clear that self-employment plays a vital economic role in the regional economies, the evidence highlights that Birmingham is an entrepreneurial city and overall there is a great aspiration to set up a business in Birmingham (10.3%) compared to the UK as a whole (7.8%). Furthermore, the intention in Birmingham to start a business is higher among all ethnic minorities (19.5%) compared to White British (4.8%).  While the Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate is higher for ethnic minorities (9%) compared to White British (4.8%), the established business owner rate is lower for ethnic minorities (2.3%) compared to White British (3.8%). However, it should be noted that there is an extensive gap between aspirations and the realisation of these aspirations. The lack of translation of aspirations to reality is an area that we need to develop further because the higher transformation of aspirations into reality in which business support could play a part, could help to address the skills, productivity, and leadership gaps within the region. The regional economy relies on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’s (SME) if the realisation of their potential is to be realised we need to advance three key areas;

  • Leadership and Management – Managerial and leadership competencies are still an obstacle to enterprise growth and development
  • Developing Ecosystems  which foster scale up  and Enterprise development
  • Embedding Diversity in Enterprise and Economic Development  and business support Strategies

In summary, developing a strong entrepreneurial culture and providing relevant support will continue to ensure the regions SME’s reach their potential to carve out new markets, innovate and boost their own and their local economy’s productivity and growth prospects

To download a copy of the Birmingham Economic Review, please click here.

This commentary was written by Professor Kiran Trehan, Leadership and Enterprise Development, University of Birmingham.  

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