skip to navigation skip to content

Northern Ireland SME Benchmarking Survey

Aims & objectives

A postal survey commissioned by Invest NI of SMEs in Northern Ireland. The survey was sent to 4,751 firms in the manufacturing and business services sectors and with less than 500 employees. A response rate of 20% was achieved.

The questionnaire was similar to the latest CBR SME surveys and covered the following six topics:

  • general characteristics of the business, which included questions on when and how the business was formed; about the CEO/ managing partner/ owner; business strategy; workforce; and accounting data;
  • innovation, which included types of innovation, sales and R&D;
  • competitive situation and collaborative activity;
  • financial assistance and advice from government business support schemes, especially Invest NI;
  • finance, whether additional finance had been sought and if so which types of finance and the amount sought;
  • and a final section on policy changes for small and medium sized businesses, where the respondents were invited to suggest up to three main changes in government policy they would like to see introduced that would affect their business. In addition they were asked about what they hoped the main outcome for their business performance would be.

Cosh, A., Hughes, A., Bullock, A. and Milner, I. (with support from Cosh, L.) (2005) CBR SME Benchmarking Survey for Northern Ireland, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, Revised 1 August.

Cosh, A., Hughes, A., Bullock, A. and Milner, I. (2005) SMEs in Northern Ireland: a matched sample comparison with Great Britain, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, July.

Core team

Alan Hughes
Andy Cosh
Anna Bullock
Isobel Milner