New support aims to help young people “Think Enterprise”

At its launch last month, the 3% campaign – developed by the Young People’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise – outlined its ambitious aim to create 5,000 young entrepreneurs by 2012.

The campaign, backed by Advantage West Midlands and Business Voice WM,  was based on research highlighting a number of barriers young people face when it comes to starting a business and accessing support in the West Midlands.

The research found that:

  • Relatively small amounts of funding can be instrumental in enabling young people to start productive businesses, but there is a gap in provision for those who do not meet the Prince’s Trust deprivation criteria or those not on student enterprise schemes.
  • Young entrepreneurs have short work histories and require business advisers and mentors who have relevant business experience to provide essential knowledge.
  • Young entrepreneurs highlighted the loneliness of working on their own when starting a business and the need for a pro-active support network.
  • Application forms for support are perceived as excessively bureaucratic and jargon-laden, deterring young entrepreneurs not familiar with the terminology and business.
  • Although a culture change is reported, many of our young skilled entrepreneurs are entirely disengaged from school.
  • Enterprise activities in schools are highly valued and supported, with the emphasis on getting young entrepreneurs involved in the Further Education sector.

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Observatory enterprise and innovation team update: May 2010

This is the second post in a new series of weekly Observatory research updates; there will be one post from a different research team each week. We’re doing this in response to feedback we received in our recent website user survey. Please do get in touch with any feedback.

It’s rather a brief update from the Enterprise and Innovation team this month as during April and May we’ve been busy researching and compiling two interesting reports on different aspects of enterprise and employment in the West Midlands.

Aspirations of businesses in West Midlands

Our first piece of research is focused on uncovering emerging trends and issues related to aspirations of the region’s businesses and what is constraining their growth ambitions.

Our initial analysis is drawn from existing data following a scoping exercise to uncover what information sources were available on the topic. This proved particularly challenging; information regarding aspirations and barriers to growth is rather scarce. However, the report will outline a number of findings that we hope partners will find interesting.

Employment trends from Annual Business Inquiry data

Our second piece of research looks at trends in employment in the West Midlands using the latest Annual Business Inquiry data.

Initially reviewing the performance at a broad sector level, our report compares the trends of the West Midlands against the UK average and other regions.

The report also looks at the underlying drivers behind notable headline sector trends, providing in-depth analysis using the most detailed to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes to fully examine what has been driving growth. Using predefined SIC groupings, the research looks at the recent trends in employment, the research looks at the recent trends in employment of high tech and knowledge intensive industries and Advantage West Midlands’ clusters. We also explore the breakdown of employment demographics.

We’ll publish these reports on the Observatory’s enterprise and innovation research pages in the coming weeks.

Continuing the legacy of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise

Thanks to Marla Nelson from the Strategic Women’s Enterprise Project for providing this guest post.

A new initiative has been launched in the West Midlands as a legacy project building on the work and findings of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise (WECOE).

The Strategic Women’s Enterprise Project is managed by Enterprise Solutions, who will continue to influence, lobby and advocate for the women’s enterprise agenda in the West Midlands region, funded by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.

The project aims to assist Advantage West Midlands in implementing WECOE policy recommendations, and work with Business Link West Midlands and other key strategic partners to ensure policy and practice is mainstreamed in supporting greater diversity in enterprise and business support across the region.  The 2-year WECOE project completed in December 2009.

To find out more about the Strategic Women’s Enterprise Project, and Enterprise Solutions (MN), contact Marla Nelson at marla@enterprisesolutionsmn.com or call 07515 597 595.

Higher level skills can help boost the region’s economic recovery

It’s no secret that the West Midlands has been harder hit by the recession than any other UK region. Indeed economic growth has been slower than that of many other regions for a number of years. This reflects long standing structural problems which mean we have relatively few high growth businesses. As a result, economic recovery in the West Midlands is expected to be difficult and protracted. Although headline regional Gross Value Added (GVA) is expected to begin to rise this year, an upturn in employment is not expected until 2012 – and projections show that it could be well into the next decade before the region reaches the peak levels of employment seen in 2008.

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Regional Skills Assessment published

The Regional Skills Assessment for 2009 is now available. This extensive research gives an overview of the changing needs of the West Midlands’ labour market, along with a detailed exploration of key issues by sector, by sub-region and for key groups.

This year’s main report presents a few distinctive sections compared to previous years. It mainly focuses on recent trends, looking also at the impact of recession and prospects for recovery.

The main report is complemented by two reports identifying the main skills needs and issues in each of the region’s key sectors and clusters.

The Assessment also includes a series of six detailed sub-​regional skills profiles assessing recent trends and future prospects for both the demand for and supply of skills. The profiles highlight key issues to support, in particular, development of Local Economic Assessments by local authorities, the commissioning of 16-​19 learning provision and the work of sub-​regional Employment and Skills Boards. The sub-regional assessments cover:

  • Birmingham and Solihull
  • Black Country
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Staffordshire

In addition, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to future prospects in the region’s labour market with forecasts covering both short-​medium term (2009 to 2014) and long term (to 2024), using the Observatory’s economic forecasting model.

View the Regional Skills Assessment 2009 pages on wmro.org

Key contact: Andy Phillips, Head of Skills Research

Research on women’s enterprise in the West Midlands

Woman walking through offices at Pump House ShrewsburyIn December 2009, the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise (WECOE) held a dissemination event marking the end of their project on women’s enterprise.

The event gave a platform to a large range of speakers, from ministers of parliament to academic researchers.

Rosie Winterton MP reviewed the progress of government policy in the sphere of women’s enterprise, and indicated future policy directions.

Professor Mark Hart spoke of his work (Women and entrepreneurial activity in the West Midlands: evidence from GEM 2002-08, pdf, 287kb) with data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor which indicates that the primary factor hampering the development of women’s enterprise in the West Midlands is their disproportionate fear of failure. This is an important finding which suggests a clear direction for policy makers to take.

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Entrepreneurial transition: the changing profile of ethnic minority business in the West Midlands

A recent report produced by the Minority Ethnic Enterprise Centre of Expertise (MEECOE) provides an invaluable insight into ethnic minority business (EMB) within West Midlands.

As residents and visitors to the West Midlands have all observed, the region is enriched by the prevalence and great variety of ethnic minority businesses. The report Ethnic Minority Businesses in the West Midlands (PDF, 992kb) looks at the traditional view of these enterprises and how they are changing as second and third-generation members of ethnic groups are exhibiting entrepreneurial transition.

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