In investigating mid-sized business (MSB) growth performance, there were 3 areas of the research commissioned by the Department for Innovation Business & Skills (BIS):
- Aston University analysis of growth and survival of MSBs
- Aston University analysis of growth and business characteristics of MSBs, using data-linking and regression analysis
- Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis of capital expenditure data using the Annual Business Survey (ABS)
Aston University used the Business Structures Database (BSD) to examine growth of private-sector MSBs between 1997 and 2010, including looking at:
- job creation and destruction
- birth of enterprises and their survival as MSBs
- survival and destination by turnover size-band of MSBs.
Aston University also investigated a number of growth and business characteristics of MSBs by matching firm-level records from ONS’s Business Structures Database (BSD) with the FAME database. The strength of the BSD is its near universal coverage of all firms in the UK, but it provides information on a very limited range of firm characteristics (employment, turnover, location and sector). The strengths and weaknesses of FAME are complementary to those of the BSD.
FAME is compiled from publicly available company annual accounts and although its coverage of firms - especially of smaller firms - is considerably more limited, its major advantage is that it reports on a very wide range of characteristics, such as foreign ownership, exports, and the presence of subsidiaries. The analysis builds on the strengths of both of these sources by using firm-level identifiers to match records from each dataset and then merge them.
Further details of the methodology used by Aston University to match the BSD and FAME data are described below.
The Aston analysis for the growth of MSBs in terms of business characteristics, includes results on:
- the matching rate
- export intensity
- family ownership
- the extent of UK ownership of overseas subsidiaries and foreign ownership of UK MSBs
- financial performance such as return on capital, shareholder funds
As part of their analysis of growth and business characteristics of MSBs, Aston University also carried out regression analysis, extending previous analysis which had been done for UK Trade & Investment.
ONS has analysed the Annual Business Survey (ABS) on behalf of BIS to determine gross and net capital expenditure for a range of industry sectors between 1999 and 2009, for a range of turnover size bands. The results give investment performance for MSBs and for firms in smaller and larger size bands.