By Daniel Hunter

A partnership to create a new independent £2.9 million enterprise research centre that will help drive Government policy for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK has been announced.

The Enterprise Research Centre will help develop a greater understanding of the factors affecting business investment, performance and growth.

It is a joint collaboration between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the British Bankers Association (BBA), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Technology Strategy Board.

“The Government is committed to boosting enterprise and giving entrepreneurs the right environment to be successful and grow," Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk, said.

"We are creating a network of thousands of business mentors and providing quality coaching to a range of high growth potential businesses. We are also launching a £10 million startup loan scheme to provide young people with a range of business support and access to a small amount of capital to start their business.

“Research is vital to ensure that Government makes evidence based decisions about how to develop these schemes and improve the business environment in the UK. By collaborating with partners and bringing together leading academics we will be able formulate long term policy that will help to stimulate economic growth in the UK.”

The call for proposals to form the centre opens today, and will close on 4 September 2012. Applications are welcomed from academic institutions across the UK with relevant expertise. It is expected that the successful bidder will be announced in the autumn.

"Information is key to delivering investment and for targeting help and support where it is needed most," Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, said.

"The British Bankers' Association and major UK banks are delighted to support the Enterprise Research Centre, an initiative which will see research focusing on small and medium sized enterprises.

“We believe the insight we gain will help inform policy, provide a focal point for research, bring key knowledge together in one place and help banks better serve their businesses customers. We also hope the research will help policy makers, business organisations and investors to work together to further develop initiatives that support enterprise and the UK growth agenda."

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said:

"Supporting economic performance and sustainable growth, and developing collaborative partnerships with business and policy are key priorities for the ESRC. I am pleased to be working with the British Bankers Association, the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop this new Enterprise Research Centre. Our complementary knowledge and experience make us ideal partners in this investment and by working together we will generate research which will directly benefit business and inform policy development."

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the UK’s innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board, said:

“It’s essential that we gain a better understanding of the way innovative SMEs in the UK access finance. We can use this knowledge to flex and develop our programmes so that they are even more tightly aligned to business needs”

“The Technology Strategy Board already provides a range of programmes and tools to help business develop and commercialise their products and this new centre will help us to build on the support we provide.“

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness