Posted: Mon 15th Oct 2012
For some time, I've wondered if the full extent of startup and small business activity is being captured in official government data, writes Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones. Monthly reports refer to doom and gloom whilst I see optimism and growth.
On 30th July, a feature in The Sunday Times confirmed the suspicion. It went like this:
"The ONS (Office for National Statistics) admits that much of the data for June is, in effect, a best guess. It bases its GDP estimates solely on a monthly survey of 44,000 businesses covering the production, manufacturing, services, retail and construction industries. It polls firms of all sizes, but admits those with fewer employees are less likely to be included - meaning dynamic start-ups are often overlooked. Given that more than half of smaller firms have expanded activity in the past three months, according to the Zurich SME Risk Index, their exclusion could be skewing the statistics."
With the ONS admitting their position, it was time to act! Tomorrow a session is being hosted by Lord Young (@thelordyoung) that will bring together ONS and the head of research at Department of Business to meet with a number of powerful platforms that have immediate data on small business trading activity. Platforms such as Etsy, Alibaba, eBay, ODesk and We Are Pop Up. Add in Experian, Intuit and PayPal and you have a gathering that could change the way in which the contribution of small business to the UK economy is counted. Small business websites will be represented by Alex Butler at Kindred HQ (who has previously blogged on this topic), Dan Martin of Business Zone and our very own Simon Wicks of Enterprise Nation. We have had an interest in this topic for the past six months and hope tomorrow's session will provide some answers and a first step to gathering data that reflects the confidence, ambitions, and growth characteristics of Britain's brightest businesses.
Do you have any views you'd like to contribute to tomorrow's session? Leave your comment below. Photo credit: stevendepolo