w w w. b r i g h t o n f u s e . c o m
4. Fast growing firms in the Brighton cluster
5. A fused cluster
The OECD defines high growth firms as those with
Combinations of diverse skills and knowledge
employee or turnover growth of more than 20% over
sources can be a source of competitive advantage
three years, and with more than 10 employees in
to new business ventures.22 Two thirds of the firms
the first year. We have drawn on that definition to
in the Brighton cluster say they combine creative
identify potential high growth firms in our sample,
design and technology in their work – half of these
noting we only have growth data for one year and
(i.e. a third of our sample) agree with this strongly.
also used a less restrictive one focusing on firms
We refer to them as the ‘superfused’ firms. We
that, in 2011, had five employees or more.
see fusion across all sectors in our sample, but
Overall, 15.2% of all firms with more than 5 employees in 2010, and 16.7% of all with more than 10, experienced growth rates above 20% between 2010 and 2011. That is, they were on the way to ‘being high growth’ in a ‘vital 6% way’. This references a NESTA report which found it is a “vital 6%” of firms that play a disproportionately large role in economic growth and job creation.21
some sectors appear to be more fused than others – for example, 94% of digital agencies, 80% of architecture and interior design firms, 78% of design services, and 67% of marketing services are fused. By comparison, only a quarter of arts organisations show any level of fusion, and only 50% or less of firms in creative goods & crafts and KIBS show any level of fusion. Figure 4: Fusion overall and by sector
High growth firms are more prevalent (in absolute, as well as relative terms, i.e. proportion of all ‘eligible’ ones) in digital technologies, digital agencies, marketing services, KIBS, and design services.
0% Architecture and Interior Design
growth firm with more than 5 employees in 2010 (out of 15 firms) and none out of those with more
Content. Unfused 40.4%. Fused 32.1%. Superfused 27.5%. Creative goods and Crafts. Unfused 50.0%. Fused 25.0%. Superfused 25.0%. Design services. Unfused 21.5%. Fused 27.8%. Superfused 50.6%.
Digital Agency. Unfused 6.2%. Fused 32.3%. Superfused 61.5%. Digital Technologies. Unfused 43.1%. Fused 32.3%. Superfused 24.6%.
KIBS. Unfused 53.7%. Fused 26.8%. Superfused 19.5%.
KIBS Marketing services Web Portals and e-commerce
Digital Agency 6.2% Digital Technologies
Content Creative goods and Crafts
Art organisation. Unfused 73.9%. Fused 21.7%. Superfused 4.3%.
By comparison, in content we only observe a high
Architecture and Interior Design. Unfused 20%. Fused 33.3%. Superfused 46.7%.
Marketing services. Unfused 33.3%. Fused 28.6%. Superfused 38.1%. Web Portals and e-commerce. Unfused 38.5%. Fused 46.2%. Superfused 15.4%. Web Portals and e-commerce. Unfused 42.9%. Fused 42.9%. Superfused 14.3%.
Coad, A. and Timmermans, B. (2012). Two’s Company: Human Capital Composition and Performance of Entrepreneurial Pairs, SPRU Working Paper Series 201, SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
NESTA, (2009). The vital 6 per cent: How high growth innovative businesses generate prosperity and jobs. NESTA: London.