2014: Celebrating the creative ingenuity of our SMEs

Professor Amanda Broderick is Dean of Salford Business School

Salford Business School - 2014- Celebrating the creative ingenuity of our SMEs

Addressing skills gaps
Addressing skills gaps

As a core component of the world economy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a critical role in innovation, advancement and sustainable development worldwide.

The University of Salford’s mission is to ‘transform lives, stimulate discovery and realise potential’. This mission is reflected in Salford Business School’s commitment to support economic regeneration – regionally, nationally and internationally.

Central to this commitment is the support of SMEs. This is done through expert advice, addressing skills gaps and through access to finance, network and resource opportunities.

Resource networks
Our resource networks

2014: year of SME optimism and confidence

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) amongst others are upgrading their 2014 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast. The New Year brings cautious shoots of optimism and confidence. It also brings the recognition that an enterprise-friendly environment for SMEs as well as other businesses can create jobs, investment and exports.

Creative SMEs are a backbone of a healthy economy

Creative SMEs are critical for:

  • Employment creation – between 2002-2010 85% of total worldwide employment growth was attributable to SMEs (de Kok et al. 2011).
  • Innovation – partly through collaboration with the larger corporate sector
  • Poverty reduction – particularly in developing economies.
  • Contribution to gross domestic product – in the UK, SMEs account for 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses, 59.3 per cent of private sector employment and 48.1 per cent of private sector turnover (Federation of Small Businesses, 2013).

International trade and creative SMEs

In today’s increasingly globalized world, SMEs have to unprecedentedly compete globally. This can be done through exporting, the creation of partnerships across national borders and the establishment of operations in other countries.

SMEs with greater internationalisation tend to report higher turnover growth and also demonstrate higher employment growth (Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, 2010).

SMEs are both the most dynamic and the most vulnerable constituent in the global economy. Their international engagement is still highly fragmented – only 1 in 5 UK SMEs currently export according to CBI report in 2013. The same CBI report also highlights that business are 11% more likely to survive if they export.

One of the key issues linked to growth for SMEs – nationally or internationally – is their ability to be innovative – this is the capacity to supply customers with new products, processes or services which are novel, competitive and valued.

Problem: Just over a third of businesses are innovative

Delivering innovation is intrinsically challenging, indeed the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) estimates that just over a third of businesses are innovative (37% in SMEs and 42% in larger enterprises). This means that almost two thirds of business are not pursuing innovation strategies.

Some of the common barriers to innovative growth include:

  • Identifying business opportunities
  • Lack of managerial time
  • Inadequate quantity of and/or untrained personnel
  • The shortage of working capital to finance growth
creative SME advice
Our expertise

Salford Business School is able to provide support and resource in overcoming the barriers to innovation. Businesses that use external advice at key stages in their development grow faster than those that do not. But, too few business are taking external advice as pointed out in the report produced by Lord Young in 2013.

2014: year of creative SMEs

Thus, Salford Business School is promoting 2014 as the Year of the Creative SME:

  • celebrating creative ability and ingenuity;
  • encouraging SMEs to get specialist help on expanding their workforce, marketing a business, financial management and growing online;
  • providing advice and access to Start-Up Loans and Growth Vouchers;
  • increasing the flow and flexibility of highly qualified students and graduates into SMEs;
  • and, facilitating research partnerships to increase innovation and the resource to test the viability of a potential innovation.

University of Salford creative SME highlights

  • A top 3 English University for engaging with SMEs – averaging 700 p.a.
  • A top 10 university for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) – establishing strong and sustained relationships with SMEs.
  • A strong regional university which is committed to supporting economic development.

    creative SME help at MediaCityUK
    Our world class facilities at MediaCityUK
  • A top 10 University for the information economy – Salford Business School has a Centre for Digital Business which is a leading European centre for promoting and refining digital business practice and strategies – particularly in SMEs.
  • A socially committed institution – the Centre for Social Business is researching and supporting a grass root big society movement that is transforming communities and lives through micro and small institutions.
  • 120 countries represented in our student population – giving unprecedented market insights from across the globe.
  • A state-of-the-art MediaCityUK presence, which gives access to creative content and communication.

To see how Salford Business School can support your SME acceleration contact Dr.Kurt Allman, Associate Dean Enterprise & Engagement

Quotes from our collaborators

UMI Digital logo
UMI Digital

“I believe that our newly established second office in Salford (set up in conjunction with the University Salford) positions umi Digital in the creative hub of not only the northwest but soon to be Europe”.

Chief Executive, Steve Lowy umidigital.co.uk

MORSON International student project 2013
MORSON International student project 2013


We are very proud of our innovative collaboration with Salford Business School which has been such a positive experience for us in terms of online brand promotion.

Orlagh Hamill, Marketing Manager www.morson.com

Since moving to MediaCityUK, SIS has been committed to forging close links with the University of Salford”. SIS Betting www.sis.tv

How can you become a more creative SME with Salford Business School?

In 2014, Salford Business School will be


  • Thank you Professor Broderick for this article on creative ingenuity of SMEs with so many important stats. Association or research partnerships with local SMEs indeed can help students like us to refine our skills, grow local economy as well help local SMEs to get benefit from our expertise.

    I am from India and it is a pleasure to study Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Salford Business School!

    • Thanks for the feedback Abhijit. Supporting our global SME network is central to the School’s mission.