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Design Council Support and Business Survival and Growth report

Design Council Support and Business Survival and Growth report

2 February 2018

Businesses supported by Design Council over a ten year period survive longer and grow faster than average UK businesses, according to independent research.

This research, independently conducted by the Enterprise Research Centre for Design Council, found that over the long term, small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) supported by Design Council grew by around 40% between 2005 and 2015, more than double that of those who had no design support.

The key findings of the report were: 

  • Design Council-supported businesses survive longer: 91% of businesses we supported were still trading after 5 years, compared to 49% of a control group.
  • Design Council support appears to have played a key role: even after accounting for wider government support programmes accessed by participating businesses, 85% of those supported by Design Council survived compared to 48% in our control group samples.
  • Design Council-supported businesses grow twice as much: over the long term the DC-supported firms (either with or without BEIS support) grew by around 40% between 2008 and 2016, more than double that of the control group. Considering that the control group acts as the counterfactual this suggests a relatively strong impact from DC support, not only on survivability, but also on employment growth prospects.
  • Design Council-supported businesses are more productive: the fact that turnover growth exceeded growth in employment amongst DC-supported firms suggests that there was an increase in productivity amongst these survivor firms (i.e. it means that firms are becoming more productive without shedding labour; these firms are often termed ‘growth heroes’). 

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