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ISBE debates ‘Recession Coping Strategies’ for small firms and regional development’.

Denise Fletcher chaired a plenary session in which panel members debated the key issues and challenges facing small firms during the recession. Denise presented a ‘tell it like it really is’ account of how one small construction business is coping with the effects of recession at ISBE Annual Conference in Liverpool, 2009. Opening her talk on a light hearted note: “A man went to his bank manager and said, ‘I’d like to start a small business. How do I go about it?’ ‘Simple,’ said the bank manager. ‘Buy a big one and wait’ , Denise went on to argue that recession is no joking matter. She referred to Insolvency Service Statistics which report that 4,941 firms went into compulsory liquidation in the first quarter of 2009 (an increase of 56% from the previous year) to make the case that the resilience and survival of small firms vis a vis larger firms as they reduce in size is a very important topic for discussion. Making reference to a small business she runs with her partner, she detailed their coping strategies concluding however, that there was still worse to come for small firms in some sectors. Other panel members were: Frank Mckenna, Founding member and chairman of DownTown Liverpool – a business club organisation that represents the interests of private sector development in Liverpool; David Storey, Professor of Small business from Warwick business school; John Leake, General Manager for Daresbury Science and Innovation campus – a technology focused business facility; Alistair Anderson, Professor of Entrepreneurship from Robert Gordon University representing the Federation of Small Business for whom he is academic advisor and Mike Taylor – who is Investment Director for Liverpool Vision (an organisation that supports inward investment, business growth and starts).

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