March 15


02:00 pm - 05:00 pm

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Explore how public and private policymakers can support microbusinesses to help the UK recover post-pandemic

The newly published Levelling Up White Paper marks the launch of a decade-long project by the UK Government to level up Britain, with one of the 12 core missions at its centre being to “improve pay, employment and productivity in every area of the UK.” If the UK is to achieve greater and more evenly spread economic prosperity, microbusinesses – a wealth of innovation and resilience – have a vital role contribution to make.

Microbusinesses and SMEs face a number of particular challenges in their delivery of people management and we have limited knowledge of the practices being employed. Business support schemes often fail to engage these harder to reach businesses and micros can be excluded from policy commentary. If the UK is to develop more productive ways of working, we need to evolve inclusive and effective business support interventions that speak to these organisations.

In December 2021, the PrOPEL Hub held the first event in a longer programme of work seeking to address this issue. The Silent Majority: A Deep Dive on People Management Support for Microbusinesses offered an academic perspective on the challenges in providing people management support to microbusinesses. Output from the session is available here:

As a next step, we are now keen to explore the issue from the point of view of policymakers. On 15 March, we will be holding a half day roundtable discussion, involving key stakeholders such the Federation of Small Businesses, the Charted Institute for Personnel and Development and the Low Pay Commission. We will be exchanging ideas and brainstorming solutions on:

• The contribution of microbusinesses in helping us to level up and recover post-pandemic.

• The impact of current business support initiatives such as the government’s help to grow scheme and implications of the Levelling Up White Paper for microbusinesses

• The role of public and private policymakers and the PrOPEL Hub in evolving more inclusive business support interventions that reflect the lived experience of microbusinesses; and

• Approaches to policy development that involve microbusinesses in co-production

An agenda for the session can be downloaded below.

More about our speakers:

Tim Butcher is Chief Economist and Deputy Secretary at the Low Pay Commission

David Grimes is Principal Growth Consultant at Enable Growth Associates (formerly Head of Business Support, South Yorkshire MCA)

Emelia Quist is Head of Policy at the Federation of Small Businesses

Professor Monder Ram is Director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Aston University

Professor Graeme Roy is Dean of External Engagement in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow

Professor Richard Saundry is Professor of HRM and Employment Relations at the University of Westminster

Kitty Ussher is Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors

Ben Willmott is Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development