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Social Research

Assessing growth and high growth potential within Small to Medium Enterprises

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  • Release date: 20 July 2017
Research undertaken with founders and leaders of Welsh-based exporting Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to understand their pathways and barriers to growth.

The purpose of this exploratory research was to develop and assess the utility of an approach to identify high growth firms in Wales and provide some indicative qualitative data on their pathways, enablers and barriers to growth.

Key findings

  • Applying the OECD definition of high growth to SMEs in Wales has shown that most firms experiencing growth fall short of the 20 per cent average annualised growth over three years measure.
  • Phases of growth and high-growth are often cyclical and sporadic and can happen in business of any age.
  • Data were not available to determine any causal relationship between innovation, exporting and growth.
  • This research has helped identification of a range of relevant data sources and the information they hold.
  • Improved data on start-ups is required to understand their pathways to growth.


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