Case study

makes a strong start

Since its launch in March 2022, the University of Derby Regional Economic Observatory (UDREO) has already supported a wide range of local SMEs, and started to forge links with the region’s business leaders and policy makers.

Promoting Sustainable Performance

UDREO’s aims are to work with local businesses to:

  1. build a robust evidence base to inform economic and social policy deliberations
  2. engage with people and communities, and
  3. produce analysis to support engagement with local and national government policy.

For the last six months, it has been focused on the first two of these, by encouraging businesses to use the diagnostic tool called Promoting Sustainable Performance (PSP).

The PSP tool is the starting point for businesses that want to receive practical guidance on how to grow and improve. It asks business leaders a series of questions about their organisation, and then provides them with a four-page report, plus an opportunity to receive a more detailed and facilitated diagnostic analysis.

Mark Gilman, Professor of Economics, explains how this diagnostic tool was developed: “I’ve spent many years researching personal and organisational growth and performance, particularly in SMEs. I’ve used that knowledge to develop the PSP model, which has already been tried and tested in the UK, France, China, Canada and Indonesia. It’s helped thousands of businesses across these countries to grow. Now we are offering the same opportunity to small businesses in Derby and Derbyshire.”

“As well as gathering data on each individual business and helping to shape their growth strategies, the intention is also for us to aggregate the data to build a regional picture of business need. We can then create interventions to address these needs, and importantly, present these insights to policy makers so they can design better solutions that are evidence-based.”

The impact so far

Mark reports that around 70 businesses have so far completed the diagnostic and received a report. Many of those then opted to receive a more detailed and facilitated diagnostic analysis, and Mark and his colleagues are now providing one-to-one support for approximately 20 companies.

Three of those companies are Goldbox Productions, Zaremba Marsden, and DS Performance — follow the links to find out more about these companies and to learn how UDREO has supported them.

"It's been an absolute pleasure to work with Mark. His advice and networking has been invaluable. He's so very good at listening and extremely organised and so he helps draw out your vision and strategy."

Stuart Marsden from Zaremba Marsden Ltd

In addition, UDREO has delivered ten, fully-funded online workshops to around 200 SMEs, on topics such as strategy, leadership, growth, mindset transformation and digital transformation.

Mark has also started to build links with the region’s business advisors, local councils, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), and chambers. The aim of this, says Mark, is to build an integrated set of services for businesses.

Man presenting - to be used for landing page Pressure Ulcer Conf

Free Business Health Check

We have developed a brand-new business health check tool specifically for small organisations. This free resource is designed to offer practical information and guidance, on how to recover and improve business performance during the current economic climate.

Find out how we can support your businessFind out how we can support your business