Travelling Together Along the Yellow Brick Road for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Small business is big business. In the UK, small business accounts for more than nine out of every 10 private sector firms, and employ six out of every 10 people. Beyond their sheer proliferation, small business is considered by many as the engine of economic growth, increasing economic productivity through innovation, competition and job creation (ERC, 2016). For some time, policy makers became too narrowly focused in their support agenda as they searched for “winners”; smaller businesses that had the potential for high growth and could deliver the desirable outcomes outlined earlier. This was a natural pursuit, as humans often believe there is an answer, a golden bullet that can solve a problem. What we know now, however, is that small business growth is a discontinuous and often short-lived affair (e.g. Storey, 2011). Growth is complex, influenced by a multitude of factors, and cannot be predicted. In such a world, as guest editors of this edition, we continue to ask ourselves, and those with whom we work: what can we do to understand better how small businesses achieve growth? What role can we and others play to support their aspirations for growth? The recent Brexit decision certainly adds a new dimension and urgency in doing so.