Diversity and SMEs: Existing Evidence and Policy Tensions : ERC White Paper No.3

Sara Carter, Monder Ram, Kiran Trehan, Trevor Jones

Research output: Working paper

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The purpose of this White Paper is to present an overarching review of the
evidence that currently exists with regard to diversity and SMEs. It outlines
longstanding concerns that entrepreneurial activities and ambitions are
restricted to a narrow range of social groups, with others, in particular some
ethnic minority groups and women, characterised as having both lesser
interest in enterprise and lower levels of resources necessary to
participate. Attempts to increase participation rates of under-represented
groups have resulted in only modest changes. This White Paper introduces
the key evidence relating to ethnic minority and women-led enterprises,
explaining the context of each group, and summarising research evidence
relating to their relative access to finance, markets and management.
Research and policy within the field of diversity and SMEs is characterised
by a number of tensions, relating to perceived or real discrimination;
whether to promote a volume of new businesses or focus on high growth
potential firms; whether specialist business support is more effective or
desirable than mainstream provision; and whether there is evidence of
market failure in the support provided to diverse enterprises.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWarwick
PublisherEnterprise Research Centre
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • diversity
  • SMEs
  • evidence
  • policy tensions


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