This chapter examines the interactions of formal and informal forms of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business support, characterised as interactions within an ‘enterprise industry’. An analysis of the interactions revealed in the existing literature for different forms of business support develops a new conceptual framework for understanding those varied forms of external influence targeted at SMEs that constitute and extend a ‘patchwork quilt’ of provision. This chapter focusses on how different forms of support and advice interact, the centrality of state influence and how such interactions can be considered part of a firm’s regulatory context. This conceptualisation allows the consideration of both business support and state regulations to move beyond conceptions of positive or negative impacts on factors such as firm growth. Instead, it establishes a conceptual lens for considering how the different forms of external influence can shape the practices and attitudes of SMEs and their owner-managers. Policy makers and organisations within the enterprise industry seeking to develop effective forms of support or regulation should not consider such activities in isolation or in simple, decontextualised positive or negative terms.
This chapter was supported by funding from the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Research and Knowledge Exchange fund.
Mallett, O. (2019), "Business Support as Regulatory Context: Exploring the Enterprise Industry", Higgins, D., Jones, P. and McGowan, P. (Ed.) Creating Entrepreneurial Space: Talking Through Multi-Voices, Reflections on Emerging Debates (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 9B), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 95-113. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2040-72462019000009B006
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