The environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in the context of the Solent Area local economic development policy...

Authors: Taura, N.D.

Publisher: Southampton Solent University (internal document)


Universities have a strong role to play in stimulating regional and local economic development. The Solent geographical area is a hub of economic activity mainly dependent on public sector, large firms and marine & maritime sectors anchored by four universities (namely: University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, Portsmouth University, and Winchester University). These universities are constantly innovating ways to respond to challenges posed by the ever changing economic environment. The role of the universities became more obvious given the recent government cuts in the public sector particularly the defence sector. Public spending cuts have revealed the Solent areas’ lack of regional resilience but also an opportunity to promote the development of environmentally friendly and socially inclusive private sector. Currently, the region is performing below the national average in terms of low birth rate of SME’s, skills shortages – (technical, administrative, and managerial), and employability skills deficit. Thus, the overall aim of this report is:  To identify, review, and synthesise the trends emerging in Southampton local economy in the context of overall development policy affecting the environment of Small and Medium Enterprises SME’s.

 To recommend strategies in regards to the role of Universities in stimulating local SME’s development. In view of the above, the report identified, reviewed, and synthesised more than 30 development policy documents particularly from the following sources: Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), Department for Communities and Local Government, South East England Regional Assembly (SERRA), South East Regional Development Agency (SEEDA), Southampton City Council, Business Southampton, Solent Local Enterprise Partnerships (SLE), and Centre of cities. The emerging themes and historical emphasis from these documents reveals that there is an opportunity for Southampton Solent University to contribute to the development of knowledge intensive economy, value added environmentally friendly manufacturing, closing employability and other relevant skills deficit gap, stimulating the birth rate of SME’s particularly (spin-outs). The report also finds an overarching emphasis by policy makers and other relevant stakeholders on the need to build a low carbon economy particularly (bio-degradable, renewable energy, and recycled technology). There is also a policy emphasis on improving the overall quality of life through promoting social enterprises targeting the vulnerable and disadvantaged group.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Nasiru Taura