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Making economics useful

Delta Economics - the clue's in the name...

is a leading source of data supply, analytical research and research-led consultancy. We have the world’s largest commercially available database of trade, GDP and trade finance covering some 200 countries and 12,800 sectors.  We provide real time data and information to our clients that helps them build their own models, understand where their strategic opportunities lie , develop investment strategies and raise their media profile.  We provide asset managers with investment strategies built on our unique trade modelling and have a subscription service to our data and Trade Insight and Trade Risk reports through our website. 

I call myself an accidental entrepreneur.  For the first ten years of my career, when my children were small, I finished my post-grad training to doctoral level and spent years teaching micro and macro economics to bored undergraduate Business Studies students.  At the same time I generated publications (8 books and over 200 articles and reports) to build my international academic reputation.  I moved to London Business School in 2002 as a Senior Research Fellow and took up a role at The Work Foundation at the same time as their Chief Economist. In 2005 I took a job as Head of UK Corporate Research at Deloitte but went back to London Business School to run the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor worldwide in 2006.

Alongisde my London Business School role, I set up Delta Economics in 2006:  Delta, meaning change, encapsulated my idea:. Economics has some of the best methods for approaching the problems of business, and should be made useful as a business tool rather than treated as an abstract academic discipline. I joined it full time in 2008 when I realised that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do within an academic or a business setting.  I wanted to use my knowledge of trade and international business to build a dataset that would help entrepreneurs and corporates alike move into overseas markets by providing data and analysis that would do their market research for them.

Making economics useful has been more of a challenge than I could ever have imagined.  I was slightly ahead of my time and knew nothing about big data at all.  We have built a software platform that produces historical and forecast data compressing gigabytes of data into a format so that clients can view it on their handheld devices. Delta Economics now has the world’s largest commercially available trade and GDP dataset and manages, on average, 9.5 billion data points a month.  We supply our data, analytics and consultancy services to blue chips, financial and business service companies, global corporations and investors alike.  They use it to inform their strategies, make investment decisions or simply to understand where future global growth is coming from.

More excitingly, from Monday 31st March, our trade dataset and monthly Trade Insight piece which provides the Delta Economics view of economic and market challenges in the coming month, is available through subscription on our website.  This is a real milestone in our business development because it is the end of a long R&D process.  DeltaMetrics, as the data platform is called, pulls key aspects of our data together in one place and delivers it to your PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

Some say that I have never focussed enough on one thing to make my career really stellar.  I say that my hybrid training and experience in academia, business and policy gives me a unique view of the world, which I now bring to my own company and team within it.  We approach every problem with energy, enjoyment and intellectual rigour backed up by world class commercial data which has academic, business and policy applications.  Our business model is unique, as are our solutions.

I would never say that the journey has been an easy one and every Monday morning feels like the beginning of a new business rather than consolidation of the existing one.  But I have learned a huge amount about managing people internationally, building a knowledge-based business and understanding where our own strategic priorities are now and in the future.  In essence every day is a new one to drive in the way we know is right. These are invaluable lessons and ones that I enjoy sharing with others who have embarked on similar journeys, whether inside existing businesses or by themselves and whether in the for-profit or the not-for-profit sector. 

The key lesson? Stick to your guns – if it feels right, it probably is but make sure you bring others along with you: you are never as lonely as you think you are, or, indeed, as lonely as you could be if you forget that your team matters as much as you do!

Dr. Rebecca Harding

CEO Delta Economics

15, Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EF

020 3427 6111