Federation of Small Businesses (Oxfordshire Branch) — with support of national FSB and SEEDA
- total grant value: £25,000
- time duration: 2006-07
The fundamental aim of the research was to assess the extent to which small businesses had a well developed 'business economic ecology', with close locational links with suppliers and markets and with significant contributions to the social and environmental sustainability of their localities.
The research approach involved the following key stages:
- Establishing the baseline population of small businesses in Oxfordshire, set in the context of small businesses nationally, and the drive towards sustainable development.
- Undertaking a sample survey of a cross section of the baseline population of small businesses in Oxfordshire.
- Undertaking more detailed direct interviews with a number of small businesses in selected locations.
- Analysing findings from the wider survey and the detailed studies.
- Identifying key issues from the findings and examining the extent of correlation with other studies.
- Developing recommendations.
- Small businesses are a vital element of the UK economy; there are over 4.3 m in the UK and over 25,000 in Oxfordshire. They account for about 50% of UK and Oxfordshire employment.
- Oxfordshire small businesses have strong local supply and demand linkages; 72% of businesses have at least 50% of staff living within 5 miles of the business.
- They are major users of local services, especially PO, banks and shops, and contribute to the community in many ways (including sponsorship, placements and involvement in local organisations).
- About 50% have made serious commitment to recycling, and water and energy saving, but many find major obstacles to further progress (including time and environmental action not being seen as cost effective).
- The key issues seen as major problems by the surveyed small firms (mentioned by over 20% of respondents) include regulation/red tape, taxation, the economy, cash flow, and recruiting staff. The report includes a range of recommendations for addressing these and other perceived lesser problems (including for example planning, and rural transport).
Glasson, J., Downing, L., Chadwick, A. and Lawton Smith, H. (2007) The Economic Ecology of Small Businesses in Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire Economic Observatory, OISD, Oxford Brookes University.
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The Economic Ecology of Small Businesses in Oxfordshire