South West Regional Skills Enterprise and Employment Analysis 2007/2008
In this section, we look at the issue of enterprise. In doing so we examine the skills required to support creativity and innovation, important drivers of productivity and growth.
A strong entrepreneurial base is an essential driver of growth and prosperity in a modern economy. New and more dynamic businesses increase competitive pressures in markets and facilitate the introduction of new ideas, technologies and more efficient working practices. Yet, despite the rapid growth of the SME sector since the 1970's, rates of entrepreneurial activity in the UK remain moderate by international standards, in particular when compared to the US.
Enterprise lies at the heart of the Government’s strategy to narrow the UK’s productivity gap with other major economies, and enterprising small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute materially to economic prosperity and social well-being within local communities.
For enterprise to flourish, there needs to be a culture where people with the initiative, skills and drive to start and run a successful business have the confidence to do so and consider it to be a realistic career choice.
The Report, A Review of Enterprise and the Economy in Education(81) by Howard Davies (Davies Review), defined ‘enterprise capability’ broadly as “the capacity to handle uncertainty and respond positively to change, to create and implement new ideas and ways of doing things, to make reasonable risk/reward assessments and act upon them in one’s personal and working life”(82).
The South West England Regional Strategy for Enterprise(83), defines enterprise as a set of attributes, skills and attitudes that enable people to create and thrive on change. Entrepreneurship/enterprise is then defined as the mindset and process by which an individual or group identifies and successfully exploits a new idea or opportunity.
It states that, “enterprising behaviour can be found in organisations of all sizes, in both private and public sectors; indeed it is critical to the task of modernising public services. The Regional Strategy also acknowledges that a modern approach to enterprise policy should acknowledge not only the substantial contribution of SMEs to employment and output, but also their vital role as dynamic ‘agents of change’ within the economy”(84).
The South West is charaterised by a high degree of SMEs and self-employment. For this reason, support with establishing and sustaining new business is essential.
(81) H Davies, A Review of Enterprise and the Economy
in Education, 2002
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