Advanced Oxford member, Oxford Innovation, has recently undertaken an analysis of innovative SMEs based in the south east of England, drawing on Oxford Innovation’s delivery of Enterprise Europe Network support, an Innovate UK programme. The innovative businesses on which the analysis is based are typically developing new products/services, scaling and exporting or looking to do so. They are the types of businesses likely to drive future growth and create jobs as the economy recovers following the business disruption caused by Covid-19.
This work, which draws on the experience of over 70 companies, is based on insights collected between mid April and early July and as such, complements the research undertaken by Advanced Oxford on company impacts and early-stage investment, earlier in the lockdown.
The report finds that most SMEs have stabilised and reduced their outgoings to match income. They are now focused on rebuilding their order books although this will be easier in some sectors than others. The following are key requirements for support:
● Scenario planning and financial modelling to ensure that SMEs understand and are prepared for a range of different recovery pathways
● Advice to rebuild their business models to support sustainable growth in the short, medium and longer term
● Sales and marketing support to help SMEs develop new sales channels and acquire new customers
● Interventions that unblock early stage investment and give angels confidence to invest in new SMEs
● Greater incentives for large organisations (public and private sector) to restart development projects to trial and demonstrate new products and services.
The report is authored by Advanced Oxford board member, Jane Galsworthy.