Some years ago, economist David Birch of research firm Cognetics Inc discovered the counter-intuitive fact that small businesses create more jobs than large ones.
He classified businesses in terms of wild animals. The large, publicly quoted firms that have shed millions of jobs over the past few decades are elephants. Small businesses that create jobs when they start up but then grow very little are mice. And fast-growing businesses that start small, then double in size and double again, are the gazelles. For the past several decades, the most effective job creators have been the gazelles and the mice.
This insight has been at the core of much public sector policy since then, and the recognition that starting and growing small businesses is crucial to the well-being of a modern economy has led to a raft of support measures and strategic initiatives.
Not all young companies turn into gazelles, but early stage investors are trying to identify those that might, often focusing on technology start-ups which promise ‘disruptive’ change in their markets.
This is the territory covered by Young Company Finance – we track and write about early stage companies with high growth potential, which have had or intend to look for external investment by business angels or VCs to help them realise their ambitions.