About this site

This website, created by Sage and Nesta, maps the landscape of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. Together with the accompanying report, it provides a fine-grained picture of how such businesses are performing and changing. We hope that decision-makers at all levels will take advantage of the data in order to understand their local business environment. By better understand the needs of businesses, and how one area differs from another, decision-makers will be better enabled to drive growth and productivity across the whole UK.

About Sage

Sage (FTSE: SGE) is the global market leader for technology that helps businesses of all sizes manage everything from money to people – whether they’re a start-up, scale-up or enterprise. We do this through Sage Business Cloud - the one and only business management solution that customers will ever need, comprising Accounting, Financials, Enterprise Management, People & Payroll and Payments & Banking.

Our mission is to free business builders from the burden of admin, so they can spend more time doing what they love – and we do that every day for three million customers across 23 countries, through our 13000 colleagues and a network of accountants and partners. We are committed to doing business the right way, and giving back to our communities through Sage Foundation.

See more at: www.sage.com

About Nesta

Nesta is a global innovation foundation that backs new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time. Nesta uses its knowledge, networks, funding and skills - working in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. It is a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment.

To find out more visit www.nesta.org.uk


The data on this website, and in the accompanying report, was gathered from a variety of sources, including the Office of National Statistics’ Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR); the Longitudinal Small Business Survey (LSBS); the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM); the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s Business and Community Interaction survey (HEBCI); Census data; commercial data from Banksearch, Beauhurst and Instant Office, and Nesta’s own research on the UK’s innovation ecosystem. The data was then supplemented with a number of interviews with experts and SMEs themselves.

Sources for individual data points are provided next to the values concerned (see icons marked ‘i’), together with dates and other clarifications such as any standardisation performed. Many data points are accompanied by ‘Min-Max’ charts which illustrate where that particular value sits within the range found across UK local authorities.

One variable which may warrant particular explanation is ‘productivity’. On this site and throughout the report, we have used the measure of aggregate turnover per employee as a proxy for productivity. Whilst many economists prefer Gross Value Add (‘GVA’) as a measure, this data is unavailable at the local authority level. Productivity data for Fylde seems anomalous; this is due to a significant apparent increase in SME turnover between 2013 and 2016 in the official statistics, but we have been unable to determine the explanation. Similarly, productivity and turnover data for Croydon is based on a substantial apparent fall between 2013 and 2016 in the official statistics, but we have been unable to determine the explanation. In some cases, we suspect that holding companies may have been included in ONS data.

To investigate how outcomes are linked to the characteristics of local authorities, we ran a series of regression models to try to determine the most significant factors. By building up the models in stages, we have been able to see which variables improve the fit of the models and which variables tend to be significant more consistently; this has guided the interpretation in the main report. These models are described in more detail in the methodology appendix of the report.

If you have any comments or queries about this website or the data it contains, please contact Dr Christopher Haley, Head of New Technology & Startup Research, Nesta. christopher.haley@nesta.org.uk

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