Irwin Grayson Associates
Papers & speeches: archive

Papers & speeches: archive

Here you will find copies of the papers and speeches going back over a number of years and which are not available through the page for current papers

Local enterprise agency loan funds: a review of performance
National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, Annual Conference, September 2006
This research assessed the need for micro-finance and the ability of enterprise agencies to provide it effectively and efficiently.


Breaking down the barriers to enterprise
RSA, Gateshead, Sept 2005
Increasingly, governments all round the world see that a healthy small business sector is crucial to their economy, yet not all are yet doing what is necessary to encourage and support more people to create successful enterprises. What are the barriers to business? And how can they be overcome?


The important role of micro-finance in supporting SMEs
presented at Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Annual Conference, November 2005
published in Cyprus International Journal of Management, Vol 10, No 1, Autumn 2005
In 2005, the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) estimated that CDFIs had a loan and investment portfolio of some £150m which levered a further £160m. This was dwarfed by bank lending to SMEs of some £45bn. The question then is what difference does micro-finance make in the UK? Is it really needed? Or would entrepreneurs find finance from other sources if micro-finance wasn't available. The research that underlies this paper suggests that micro-finance institutions do make a difference, but that they are unsustainable without grant support of some kind.


World Bank: World Development Report 2004, "A Better Investment Climate for Everyone"
Background paper: "Creating FDI Friendly Environments in South Asia", Sept 2004
Download WDR 2005 & other background papers
For the 2005 World Development Report, DFID commissioned a number of background papers. I was asked to write one of these - reviewing and synthesising papers presented at a couple of round tables looking at how to create a better investment climate in order to attract more foreign direct investment.


Real Business
Instinctively regulatory
Real Business, June 2003
I worked in government for two years from March 2000 to 2002 as the founder chief executive of the Small Business Service, reporting directly to the secretary of state for trade and industry, Patricia Hewitt (and before her, Stephen Byers). I was convinced then – and remain convinced now – that the government’s heart is in the right place in its desire to support small businesses. However, from my time in government, I saw that ministers and civil servants are all too often instinctively regulatory and that it is too easy to lose momentum.


Scanning the future landscape: drivers and challenges facing small businesses in the UK
University of Central England, May 2003
This paper was intended to demonstrate why scenario planning is important, to highlight some of the drivers and challenges facing businesses today and to provide some ideas for how you might begin to use scenario planning in your business. Why, with all the other calls on your time, should you find time for scenario planning? Quite simply, it will help to keep you in business. At one extreme, it will help you to foresee calamities that might drag you down. At the other extreme, it will help you anticipate and take advantage of the opportunities.


A policy framework for SME development: approach of the UK government
Beijing, February 2003
see further work
The China State Economic & Trade Commission (now the Natoinal Development & Reform Commission) had concluded that it was important to promote the advantages of starting one's own business and is providing support to prospective entrepreneurs in a number of cities around China. This paper was one of a number presented at a conference of staff drawn from the business support centres in each of those cities, with the intention of introducing ideas for SME development policy adopted by other countries.


Strategy mapping in the public sector
Long Range Planning, December 2002
Robert Kaplan and David Norton followed up their success with the Balanced Scorecard by developing the concept of strategy mapping, a powerful technique which links together the different strategic perspectives of any business. I used this technique with the Small Business Service and subsequently wrote about it in Long Range Planning.


Educating entrepreneurs
Royal Society of Arts, Dick Onians Memorial Lecture, London, Nov, 2001
Project North East celebrated its 21st birthday during 2001. As part of a year long clebration, David Grayson and I gave a double act lecture at the RSA, sharing some of our insights and stressing the importance of educating entrepreneurs as a life long activity. We introduced the importance of better connectivity, of IDEA (identification, dissemination, experimentation and application) of good practice and the need for more customised support.


World class business advice
National Business Adviser Managers, Annual Conference, Cheshire, Nov, 2001
This speech set out my vision for the Business Link network, and the network's contribution to the achievement of the SBS vision. It explains what is meant by 'ruthless customer focus', or more precisely, a ruthless focus on customers. It emphasises the role of the business adviser as a process consultant and of developing a learning network.


Women and Enterprise
Soroptimists International of Newcastle upon Tyne, Charter Dinner, Nov, 2001
Although the gap is narrowing, there continues to be fewer female entrepreneurs than male entrepreneurs. This speech looked at some of the differences, stressed the importance of starting in the education system and provided a brief summary summary of the work of the Small Business Service.


Local Government: the enterprise challenge
Local Government Association, Annual Economic Development Conference, Newcastle, Nov, 2001
This speech aimed to challenge local government to work with the SBS to turn our vision into reality, noting some of the areas, such as pro-business attitudes anbd local business partnerships where local authorities can make a difference.


The importance of incubation
UK Business Incubation, Annual Conference, London, Nov, 2001
This speech provided a progress report on the work of the Small Business Service since the previous year's conference, but also stressed the importance of incubation as a means of assisting businesses to start and grow so that they survive and prosper.


Championing entrepreneurship
European Forum: Conference on top class business support services, Cardiff, Oct, 2001
This conference was one of a series organised by the European Forum with the support of the EU. The objective was to look at best practice. This speech publicised findings from the Barclays Bank & NFEA research for the first time, suggesting that support makes a significant difference. It also aimed to encourage learning across Europe.


Promoting the k-economy
UK Science Park Association, Annual Conference, Sunderland, Sept, 2001
The k-economy is of considerable importance. Science Parks have a major role to play in assisting businesses to maximise their contact with knowledge centres and to engage in spin outs and technology transfer. SBS and UKSPA can work together more effectively


Funding growing businesses
Business Link Tyne & Wear and the Bridge Group, Sept, 2001
The SBS was keen to see a range of debt and equity products geared to all stages of a business's development.


Quality & the Voluntary Sector
NVCO Quality Standards Task Group, June, 2001
Achieving an acceptable level of quality is just as important in the voluntary sector as it is in the private sector - and like all businesses offering a service, often staff in non-profit organisations only have one chance to 'get it right'.


Stimulating entrepreneurship
Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, April, 2001
There is much more that we can all do to stimulate entrepreneurship and to work towards changing attitudes so that society respects and values entrepreneurs.


The challenge for bankers
Chartered Institute of Bankers, Sheffield, April, 2001
This paper describes the work of the SBS and, in particular, the ways in which we (then)provide finance to small businesses. It sets some challenges for the banks.


Investing in Communities: the small business contribution
Corporate Social Responsibility Group, March, 2001
A brief look at the increasing pressure on businesses of all sizes to be good corporate citizens.


Encouraging Responsible Business
SBS, 2001
All businesses, no matter what their size, are under increasing pressure to be responsible citizens. But what precisely does this mean? Do businesses simply need to stay within the law? Or do they need to go further? And if so, what should they be doing? This paper is intended as a contribution to the debate and, in particular, is intended to help business advisers who are looking for pointers when working with clients.
City Growth Strategies
SBS, 2001
This prospectus made the case for City Growth Strategies, which were intended to build on the work of Prof Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School and his Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. The thesis is that we should aim to build on the competitive economic advantages of inner city areas rather than always trying to address the social disadvantages. So City Growth Stratgeies will provide an opportunity to take a holistic view of an inner city area putting entrepreneurship and business development at the centre of a redevelopment strategy. SBS has now agreed to support four pilot areas to take this forward.


Supporting Social Enterprise
SBS, 2001
This short paper suggests a possible definition for social enterprise, sets out the need for more support for social enterprise and suggests ways in which that support could be delivered.


Lessons from RSA
SBS, July 2001
A delegation from SBS visited South Africa in July to explore how we can improve linkages for businesses wanting to engage in international trade and also to look at a range of small business support programmes


Shaping the Future: Building a big future for small business
University of Exeter, November, 2000
This speech is the first in a series of three organised during the year by Exeter University. It considers societal attitudes to small business, the challenges faced by small businesses and the role of the Small Business Service in assisting small businesses.


B2B or not 2B, that is the question
Institute of Business Advisers, October, 2000
This speech considers some of the massive changes being brought about by developments in the internet, describes some of the challenges facing small businesses and makes suggestions for advisers.


Seven Ages of Entrepreneurship
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol 7, No 3, Autumn 2000
Entrepreneurs need to overcome a number of cultural barriers if they are to succeed in in business. This paper looks at some of those barriers and makes recommendations for advisers.


Challenges for Business in 2002
Foundation for SME Development, Durham University, May, 2000
To mark the launch of the new Foundation for SME Development at Durham University, a number of speakers looked at some of the key issues facing small and growing businesses. I looked specifically at some of the challenges small businesses are likely to face.


Business Development Services and Micro-finance
Gatsby Foundation, Entebbe, May, 2000
The UK based Gatsby Charitable Foundation has supported the establishment of Gatsby Trusts in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon. They are all assisting small and growing businesses. This speech was a contribution to a debate about whether business support organisations can provide advice and training as well as micro-finance without compromising one or the other.


Lessons from America
SBS, May 2000
I visited the USA to visit the Small Business Administration, but also took the opportunity to visit some other projectss including the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.


Vision for the Small Business Service
Local Government Association, March, 2000
This speech set out the initial aims for the Small Business Service


The Growth of Youth Entrepreneurship in the UK
OECD, Rome, 16 November 1999
This paper traces a little of the history of youth enterprise support in the UK and provides some up to date figures regarding attitudes towards starting in business


Funding start-ups and early growth
Institute of Business Advisers, Annual Conference, 24 October 1999
This paper looks briefly at some of the sources of funds available to businesses in their early development, concentrating on the importance of equity. It concludes with ten practical lessons for business advisers.


Our digital future
This address was given to the Milton Keynes Chamber in early 1999. It highlights some of the expected changes technology will bring and explores implications for small businesses


Profit through people
Investors in People UK
This paper is based on a lecture given on a number of occasions to SMEs to encourage them to think about the importance of developing their staff and, in particular, the role that Investors in People can play in providing a suitable framework.