UK (University of Roehampton) Joint Research Provides Local Businesses with Recommendations to Implement Sustainable Models

In December over 40 local representatives including senior executives from Chambers of Commerce, Local Authorities, Business Improvement Districts, and the South London Partnership, gathered to discuss a research study led by Roehampton University academics Dr Mamata Parhi (PI) and Professor Mohammed Rafiq (Co-I) in collaboration with Dr Yuliana Topazly (Co-I) from Kingston University.

Image - Joint research provides local businesses with recommendations to implement sustainable models

Attendees gathered at Kingston Townhouse for the event titled ‘Chambers of Commerce for Local Business Engagement and Growth in South London.’

Dr Mamata Parhi, Reader in Finance and Economics, and Head of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Governance at Roehampton University, spoke about the aim of the research; to review the best models of business engagement in post-global pandemic times.

The research methodology included a mix of secondary data research and a primary survey of businesses in five South London boroughs – Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton, Croydon, and Wandsworth.

Dr Mamata Parhi said: “Our research points to a significant mismatch between demand and supply of business support services, exacerbated further for micro businesses who are traditionally resource-constrained.”

“We find that there is a perceptible change in the way businesses are accessing information and support in the recent years, more so, since the Covid pandemic. This necessitates the providers of such services to adapt accordingly and to find new ways of working together with local businesses.”

Although there are a number of recommendations, the following four were agreed by the event attendees to take immediate priority:

  • An increase in partnership working
  • More focus at a borough level
  • Improvement in communications
  • Better reach to include a diversity of engagement

Diana Sterck, CEO of Merton Chamber of Commerce, concluded: “The recommendations are critical to sustainable business models and I look forward to working in collaboration to deliver new ways of business engagement.”

Forbes Low, CEO of Kingston Chamber of Commerce, noted: “The next steps are important, to turn recommendations into actions. I certainly hope we can make this event happen again.”