Data Collection and Analysis of Current Barriers to Business Growth in the South of Scotland

Levie, Jonathan and Mwaura, Samuel (2021) Data Collection and Analysis of Current Barriers to Business Growth in the South of Scotland. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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This report on business growth in the South of Scotland presents results on Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the research. Stage 1 is a report on a sample of 1,001 adults aged 18 to 80 within the South of Scotland of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Adult Population Survey with additional regional ecosystem questions conducted in 2018, with benchmarking against other parts of the UK that might be comparable to the South of Scotland, including Highlands and Islands, Devon and Cornwall, Cumbria and Northumberland, East Wales, and Herefordshire and Shropshire. The data shows, as expected, a somewhat older business owner/manager profile in the South of Scotland than in Scotland or in the UK, with fewer new entrepreneurs and more older business owner/managers than the national average prevalence rates. The profile is very similar to that found in Highlands and Islands and Devon and Cornwall and different to that found in border regions in England or Wales, suggesting that the region’s remote rural nature is more important than being a border region. Unlike its benchmark regions, where entrepreneurial activity rates rose in the years after the financial crash, entrepreneurial activity rates in the South of Scotland have been static, with the possible exception of rates among older people. Stage 2 is a report of statistics on new firm births and firm growth for the South of Scotland and benchmarked regions from an integrated business database from the Office for National Statistics and the Inter-Departmental Business Register for the 2014 to 2019 period. The data shows very similar patterns to the GEM data in Stage 1. However, because this data is effectively a census and not a survey, we can be much more confident that the new enterprise birth rate in the South of Scotland and the high growth enterprise rate (OECD employment-based definition) ranges from 70% to 80% of the average rates in its benchmark regions, depending on how these rates are measured.