Business Stay-Up is a research-led campaign to raise awareness of the pressures and challenges business owners face as they seek to survive and scale, and understand what can be done to increase the probability of success

Business failure and resulting creative destruction drives forward a market economy. However, not all business failure is necessary and unavoidable. For example, a lack of management or employee skills, poor financial management and operational mismanagement can destroy what would be an otherwise successful business. More can and should be done to raise the probability of firm survival – or Business Stay-up. Future entrepreneurship policy must identify and stimulate factors that help firms survive and thrive.


Human Capital and Business Stay-Up

The first piece of research undertaken as part of the Business Stay-Up project is Human Capital and Business Stay-Up.

In recent decades, governments worldwide have employed an array of different policy tools to try to increase start-up rates in their countries, but relatively little attention has been paid to how to support ‘business stay-up’. In that it is among the fastest growing small businesses that employment growth, innovation and productivity gains are strongest, this lag in the progress of entrepreneurship policy should give us cause for concern.

Of those approaches to supporting business sustainability that have been tried, efforts to improve management practices have shown promise. This report adds to a growing body of evidence in this area, new research supporting the importance of human capital to entrepreneurial outcomes.

Author Gabriel Heller Sahlgren’s research substantiates a relationship between business owners’ specific areas of qualification and the growth of their enterprise. Moreover, and more importantly, he further finds that not all areas of qualification are equal in terms of stimulating success. The training obtained through programmes in business, social science, and law, and in technical areas, such as engineering, appear to lead to employee growth – whereas programmes relating to other subject areas do not.

Accordingly the author argues that governments should seek ways to incentivise training in high impact areas, and in management skills specifically. e most promising approaches, he finds, appear to focus on task-related training, in both an operational and specific sense. To maximise the probability of firm success, owners must therefore learn the operational skills of organisation and management, while at the same time keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the field in which they operate.

READ Human Capital and Business Stay-Up



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As the pioneer in global business education, the Association of Business Executives (ABE) was founded more than 40 years ago with a clear social purpose to improve business education for aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries, many of which are now high-growth economies. That pioneering spirit remains as we seize new challenges to engage millennials with flexible and relevant learning content and credentials.

Today, ABE works all over the world and 1.5 million people have mastered essential modern business concepts and gained the skills and confidence to apply them through ABE’s active-learning courses. ABE continues to play a vital role in helping to diversify and grow economies, reducing inequality within and among countries, and is at the forefront of the entrepreneurial skills agenda.


In Partnership with

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The Entrepreneurs Network is a think tank for the ambitious owners of Britain’s fastest growing businesses and aspirational entrepreneurs.

The Centre for Education Economics (CfEE) is an independent think tank working to improve policy and practice in education through impartial economic research.


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