The Influence of Location on the Use by SMEs of External Advice and Collaboration: Detailed Econometric Estimates
This paper provides a large scale analysis of the influence of location on the extent of use and impact of external advice and collaboration on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Britain. The analysis indicates that for private sector advisors (accountants, consultants etc) and collaboration with suppliers and customers, the intensity of use does not vary significantly with location in most cases. Only the input of business friends and relatives is strongly locationally constrained. EU Structural Fund status of an area also has few major effects on use of private sector advice. However, the impact of external advice, and the extent of local collaboration between similar firms, is influenced by location, with impact generally increasing with the size of business concentration, density and closeness to a business centre; i.e. there are positive effects of urban location and agglomeration economies. For public sector support agencies (such as the Small Business Service Business Link, TECs/LECs, enterprise agencies, and also chambers of commerce) the reverse is generally true. Levels of use are locationally influenced but impact is not.
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