Lancaster academics and Entrepreneurs in Residence contribute to G7 Summit

A group of experts and entrepreneurs from Lancaster University Management School have ensured the voices of small businesses were heard by the world’s most powerful leaders at the recent G7 Summit in Cornwall.
Lancaster University Management School.Lancaster University Management School.
Lancaster University Management School.

Barry Leahey, Honorary Professor at Lancaster University Management School and a valuable member of the School’s Entrepreneurs in Residence programme, was the lead author of a paper which advised the Economic Resilience Panel at the G7 Summit, outlining the perspective of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) when building collective economic resilience.

Barry said: “The paper was accepted following a meeting I had earlier in the year with the G7 Economic Resilience Panel. It outlines how SMEs differ to larger businesses when it comes to ‘economic shocks’ like the pandemic.

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"Small businesses tend to have smaller buffers in terms of cash reserves, have less planning time, and tend to dedicate their resource to day-to-day operations. However, they’re also the more agile players in business, can adapt easily and seize opportunities with the right support.”

The paper reflects on the ingenuity that was shown by SMEs in Cumbria during the pandemic, illustrating how small businesses can rise to significant challenges and support the region and wider nation.

The authors suggest productivity should be at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery and outline the latest findings from academic research which indicate SME productivity and growth performance are most hindered by:

*access to long-term finance sources

*access to management practice and skills development, learning from international best practice

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*rates of innovation/adoption of new technology — which helps explain the ‘long tail’ or poorer performing firms

*a stable, responsive framework

The paper was amongst those that informed the Economic Resilience Panel’s thinking, ahead of Lord Sedwill presenting ideas on behalf of the Panel to the Summit.

LUMS’ late Alistair Anderson, Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, Prof Florian Bauer and Dr Robyn Remke contributed to the paper, along with fellow EiRs Victor Giannandrea, Richard Baguley (GDR PR), Wayne Brophy (Cast UK), Chris Mayne (Forsberg), Sue McGraw (St Johns Hospice), Ian Steel (Atkinson Coffee), Peter McGunniess (DRM Ltd), Nick Draeger (Giblot Food and Health), Gill Hall (Butlers Cheese) and Jane Dalton (Groundswell Innovation).

The LUMS EiR network is both a UK and global pioneer of Entrepreneurs in Residence, with the expertise recognised in the school’s reaccreditation by the Small Business Charter in 2020.

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Prof Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, said: “The role of a Management School is to not only equip the world’s next generation of leaders. Lancaster is an anchor institution that bridges the gap between industry and academia – helping business translate the very best and latest thinking into practical solutions that can benefit an organisation’s frontline, and wider society.

“LUMS is extremely proud of its diverse community, of which our Entrepreneurs in Residence form a key part. This paper is a fantastic example of our community of businesses and academics coming together to influence not only our region, but the world.”