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Engineering growth: Enabling world-class UK entrepreneurship in the low-carbon economy
reportposted on 2020-04-30, 12:50 authored by Erkko Autio, Robert Webb
The UK faces two challenges over the coming years: transitioning to a low-carbon energy system while continuing to grow our economy. This will require close collaboration between industry, government and society. But chiefly, it will require innovation to ensure we meet the needs of a growing population in a smarter, more sustainable way. Innovation is created throughout the economy. What has become clear over the past few decades, however, is that entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have proved to be a highly efficient innovation engine within our economy. In low-carbon they represent 91.5% of the UK market, and are disproportionately likely to innovate compared to peers in other sectors. The game-changing technologies that will lead the transition to a lower-carbon energy system rely on individuals with technical skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and bringing these to market requires entrepreneurial skills. In the coming years the UK low-carbon sector will need to recruit an additional 50,000 people with STEM skills annually by 2023. This shortage is compounded by a weakness in the UK’s entrepreneurial culture which prevents some of the most ground-breaking and promising low-carbon ventures from scaling up. Because, while the UK has created a comparatively higher quantity of low-carbon start-up ventures, we lag significantly behind the US in scale-up performance. There is a very real threat that the highest potential low-carbon businesses generated in the UK will look elsewhere to attain true scale. This new research commissioned by Shell Springboard and written by Imperial College Business School focuses on the structures and ecosystems which enable low-carbon enterprise in the UK.
Commissioned by: Shell Springboard Programme
- Loughborough University London