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The Creation and Growth of Small Business Service Firms in Post-industrial Britain


  • Bryson, John R
  • Keeble, David
  • Wood, Peter


Since 1980, the United Kingdom has experienced a dramatic growth in firms and employment in information-intensive business services, such as management consultancy and market research. This article reports the results of the first substantial nation-wide investigation into the nature and causes of small professional business service firm growth in Britain, undertaken in 1991. It reveals marked differences in the characteristics, markets and competitive requirements of such firms, compared with small manufacturing firms. The demand for their services comes predominantly from large companies, and is more focused on financial and other services and government. But small firms are also making increasing use of business services. Specialised expertise, reputation and educational and professional qualifications are essential prerequisites for the establishment of new business service firms. Their success is also being enhanced by increasing use of informal networking, collaborative partnerships, and subcontracting. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Bryson, John R & Keeble, David & Wood, Peter, 1997. "The Creation and Growth of Small Business Service Firms in Post-industrial Britain," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 345-360, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:9:y:1997:i:4:p:345-60

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    Cited by:

    1. D.B. Audretsch & A.R. Thurik, 2010. "Unraveling the Shift to the Entrepreneurial Economy," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-080/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 02 Apr 2011.
    2. Nadine Levratto & Denis Carré & Messaoud Zouikri, 2013. "Dynamique des territoires et création d’entreprises : une analyse des départements français en 2008. Local dynamics and firms creation: an analysis of French departments in 2008," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-18, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    3. Nadine Levratto & Denis Carré & Messaoud Zouikri, 2013. "Dynamique des territoires et création d'entreprises : une analyse des départements français en 2008," Working Papers halshs-00840365, HAL.
    4. P. J. A. Robson & R. J. Bennett, 2000. "The use and impact of business advice by SMEs in Britain: an empirical assessment using logit and ordered logit models," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1675-1688.
    5. Kevin O'Connor & Brian Holly & Audrey Clarke, 2012. "A case for incorporating logistics services in urban and regional policy: Some insight from US metropolitan areas," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 165-177, June.
    6. Murmann Johann Peter & Korn Jenny & Worch Hagen, 2014. "How Fast Can Firms Grow?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(2-3), pages 210-233, April.
    7. Suma Athreye & David Keeble, 2002. "Sources of Increasing Returns and Regional Innovation in the UK," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 345-357.
    8. Robert Bennett & Paul Robson, 1999. "The Market for External Business Advice Services in Britain," Working Papers wp123, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

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