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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2020

Cristian Gherhes, Tim Vorley and Chay Brooks

Despite their economic significance, empirical evidence on the growth constraints facing micro-businesses as an important subset of small and medium enterprises remains scarce. At…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite their economic significance, empirical evidence on the growth constraints facing micro-businesses as an important subset of small and medium enterprises remains scarce. At the same time, little consideration has hitherto been given to the context in which entrepreneurial activity occurs. The purpose of this paper is to develop an empirically informed contextual understanding of micro-business growth, beyond firm-level constraints.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on 50 in-depth interviews with stakeholders and micro-business owner–manager entrepreneurs (OMEs henceforth) in a peripheral post-industrial place (PPIP henceforth).

Findings

The paper shows that, beyond firm-level constraints generated by their OME-centric nature, there are “additional costs” for micro-businesses operating in PPIPs, specifically limited access to higher-skilled labour, a more challenging, “closed” business environment and negative outward perceptions stemming from place stigmatisation. All of these “additional costs” can serve to stymie OMEs' growth ambition.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on a limited number of interviews conducted in one region in England. However, the contextualisation of the findings through a focus on PPIPs provides valuable insights and enables analytical generalisation.

Originality/value

The article develops a context-sensitive model of micro-business growth constraints, one that goes beyond the constraints inherent in the nature of micro-businesses and is sensitive to their local (socio-institutional) operating context. The implications serve to advance both how enterprise in the periphery is theorised and how it is addressed by policymakers and business intermediaries to support the growth of micro-businesses.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 September 2019

Chay Brooks, Tim Vorley and Cristian Gherhes

The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the role of public policy in the formation of entrepreneurial ecosystems in Poland.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the role of public policy in the formation of entrepreneurial ecosystems in Poland.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper assumes a qualitative approach to researching and analysing how public policy enables and constrains the formation of entrepreneurial ecosystems. The authors conducted a series of focus groups with regional and national policy makers, enterprises and intermediaries in three Polish voivodeships (regions) – Malopolska, Mazowieckie and Pomorskie.

Findings

The paper finds that applying the entrepreneurial ecosystems approach is a challenging prospect for public policy characterised by a theory-practice gap. Despite the attraction of entrepreneurial ecosystems as a heuristic to foster entrepreneurial activity, the cases highlight the complexity of implementing the framework conditions in practice. As the Polish case demonstrates, there are aspects of entrepreneurial ecosystems that are beyond the immediate scope of public policy.

Research limitations/implications

The results challenge the view that the entrepreneurial ecosystems framework represents a readily implementable public policy solution to stimulate entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial growth. Insights are drawn from three regions, although by their nature these are predominantly city centric, highlighting the bounded geography of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Originality/value

This paper poses new questions regarding the capacity of public policy to establish and extend entrepreneurial ecosystems. While public policy can shape the framework and system conditions, the paper argues that these interventions are often based on superficial or incomplete interpretations of the entrepreneurial ecosystems literature and tend to ignore or underestimate informal institutions that can undermine these efforts. As such, by viewing the ecosystems approach as a panacea for growth policy makers risk opening Pandora’s box.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2045-2101

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 November 2016

Cristian Gherhes, Nick Williams, Tim Vorley and Ana Cristina Vasconcelos

Micro-businesses account for a large majority of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, they remain comparatively under-researched. The purpose of this paper is to take…

5097

Abstract

Purpose

Micro-businesses account for a large majority of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, they remain comparatively under-researched. The purpose of this paper is to take stock of the extant literature on growth challenges and to distinguish growth constraints facing micro-businesses as a specific subset of SMEs from those facing larger SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

The study consists of a systematic review of 59 peer-reviewed articles on SME growth.

Findings

Micro-businesses distinguish themselves from larger SMEs by being owner-manager entrepreneur (OME) centric and are constrained by a tendency to be growth-averse, underdeveloped capabilities in key business areas, underdeveloped OME capabilities, and often inadequate business support provision.

Research limitations/implications

The use of keywords, search strings, and specific databases may have limited the number of papers identified as relevant by the review. However, the findings are valuable for understanding micro-businesses as a subset of SMEs, providing directions for future research and generating implications for policy to support the scaling up of micro-businesses.

Originality/value

The review provides a renewed foundation for academic analysis of micro-business growth, highlighting how micro-businesses are distinct from larger SMEs. At present, no literature review on this topic has previously been published and the study develops a number of theoretical and policy implications.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Chay Brooks, Cristian Gherhes, Tim Vorley and Nick Williams

The aim of this paper is to unpack the nature of business innovation and understand the impact on regional innovation and competitiveness.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to unpack the nature of business innovation and understand the impact on regional innovation and competitiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a qualitative study of Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials businesses in the Sheffield City Region (UK). Interviews were conducted with 23 firms in exploring how innovation in the firm translates to innovation-led regional economic growth.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that there is a tendency of owner managers to focus on innovation in terms of the development of new products, processes and/or services. Many of the businesses interviewed were technologically innovative, yet there was little evidence of wider business model innovation. This, the authors conclude, stymies regional innovation and with it regional economic growth.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on a case study of the Sheffield City Region and is not generalizable, but offers insights into the nature of business model innovation which are valuable in generating questions for further research.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the need to think of innovation in broader terms and the scope of business model innovation to not only improve the performance of firms but also regional economic growth.

Originality/value

Business model innovation is a growing domain of the literature, and this paper highlights how narrow interpretations of innovation may serve to limit growth business growth, and with it regional economic growth.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

João J. Ferreira and Vanessa Ratten

710

Abstract

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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