11 Nov 2022

New research to improve support for small businesses in the East Midlands


The needs of small businesses in the East Midlands are being investigated in a new study by experts at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with East Midlands Chamber.

Leaders of small businesses in the region are invited to help academics from Nottingham University Business School build an understanding of what they want from business support and how they access it.

Analysis from the project will help to inform the future of business advice and support available in the region.

Business support needs are evolving

Dr Robert Wapshott, associate professor in entrepreneurship and innovation at Nottingham University Business School, said: “Effective systems of advice and support for small businesses can add value to ventures and the region.

“To achieve this, however, we need to focus on what small businesses really want and how they want to access advice and support.

“We are very aware of the current economic climate and issues with international trade, so we are keen to make sure that the support on offer directly addresses and assists with the concerns that business leaders have. The growth of the region relies on this.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “External factors, such as the disruption we’ve experienced over the past few years, have meant the needs of businesses have evolved significantly – whether it’s in their supply chains, people or innovation.

“This means the business support ecosystem must respond accordingly to ensure our firms are well-equipped to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

“The high quality of the business support services we offer was recently recognised by the British Chambers of Commerce, which named us the UK Chamber of the Year for 2022, but we know we must not stand still as an organisation.

“This unique research project will provide us with the intelligence required to continue supporting the success of our region’s businesses and communities.”

Engaging East Midlands SMEs about business support

Interviews with small businesses across the East Midlands will begin in the first quarter of 2023.

Participants will be asked to take part in an online 45-minute interview focused on how they engage with business advice and support services and how the support on offer could be improved to better meet the needs of their business and others in the region.

Leaders of small businesses who are interested in helping to shape knowledge on business advice and support can contact policy@emc-dnl.co.uk to find out more about the project and how to get involved.