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Established in 1987, the Small Business Research Centre (SBRC) is one of the leading research groups in the UK in the field of small business and entrepreneurship. We have developed a growing international reputation, based on an extensive portfolio of research and consultancy, both in the UK and overseas. The following links are to current research and recently completed projects undertaken by the Centre.
Our research focuses on themes of contemporary social, economic and environmental relevance, including sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship, quality of self-employment, inclusive entrepreneurship, empowerment of disadvantaged groups, entrepreneurial potential, and SME internationalisation.
The ENERGISE project was completed in December 2019. The SBRC research team contributed to developing its conceptual framework, establishing a database of sustainable energy consumption initiatives across the EU, and producing a report on the design of innovative energy living labs. The UK Living Lab Country Report is now available online via the following URL: www.energiseproject.eu/livinglab_country_reports
Since the start of 2019, Genus and Iskandarova have produced and submitted to the European Commission six deliverables, including two policy reports, two policy briefings and two workshop proceedings reports, which are available now online on the ENERGISE website, available at: www.energiseproject.eu/deliverables.
The Technology Foresight for Growth and Productivity project, led by Riccardo Vecchiato, with Hang Do, Yannis Pierrakis, and Robert Blackburn, is funded by the BEIS Business Basics Programme, Innovate UK. The project was also supported by the Innovation Growth Lab at NESTA and the London Digital Health Accelerator. The aim of Business Basics funded projects is to build up the evidence base around what does and does not work in encouraging SMEs to adopt basic technologies and management practices.
Conduct of the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students' Survey (GUESSS)
GUESSS is an international research project that examines the entrepreneurial intentions and activities of students using a geographical and temporal comparison. The eighth GUESSS edition was conducted in 2019 with 50 countries; more than 1000 universities, and more than 122,000 students took part. SBRC manages the project in the UK, led by Robert Blackburn with Bahare Afrahi and Ledda Shokuri.
The Small Business Research Centre (SBRC) has completed a EUROFOUND research project (2016-2018) that investigated the internationalisation of manufacturing born globals and their global value chains. The project was led by David Smallbone, Robert Blackburn and Hang Do, working with other 6 European institutions (IKEI (Spain), Oxford Research (Sweden), Patenia (Netherlands), Praxis (Estonia) and VVA (Italy). This involved developing seven case studies of European born globals and their value chains, and 27 policy case studies on internationalisation across the EU, Japan, Australia and the USA.
The SBRC has provided underpinning research evidence for an independent review into the complaints and alternative disputes resolution (ADR) landscape for UK's SME market for UK Finance.
The review, led by Simon Walker CBE former Director-General of the Institute of Directors, was launched on 23 October by UK Finance. In addition, Simon Walker, CBE, presented the findings to a hearing of the House of Commons Select Committee SME Finance.
Professor Blackburn, who led on the SBRC contribution to the Review, said "This is a very important review emphasising the need for an enhanced role for the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to strengthen the infrastructure for SMEs when in dispute with their banks. Our evidence shows that most SME bank complaints are dealt with quickly within the banks own complaints systems, but more complex cases take more time and can lead to disputes. In looking for alternatives to going to court, many SMEs do not realise that they can use the FOS and this review sets out how this service may be improved. Our analysis is critical in mapping out the pattern of SME's complaints, their nature, duration and outcome leading to an evidence-based underpinning of the recommendations of the Review".
Professor Audley Genus, of the SBRC, has a new book out entitled 'Social Innovation and Sustainable Consumption'.
It is co-edited and co-authored with colleagues from the Horizon 2020 'ENERGISE' research project and the FP7 'TRANSIT' social innovation project.
The new book with contributions from international scholars, discusses the latest thinking at the interface of social innovation, sustainable consumption and social change, highlighting its significance to sustainability-related policy, social organisation and business practice.
The book presents detailed case studies of social innovation and enterprise in energy, food, housing and policy, which illustrate emerging practice and promising policy, business and civil society interventions. It offers critical reflections and commentaries on the contribution of social innovation to societal transformation.
Further information is available on the Routledge website.
Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, George Saridakis, set out his views on managing employees in times of crises in an opinion piece published by Employee Benefits magazine. He noted that a crisis can act as a catalyst for beneficial change, while emphasising how HR professionals must think strategically and globally to ensure resiliance against economic shocks.
Professor Robert Blackburn, the Director of the Small Business Research Centre, is delighted to announce that the University has conferred the status of the SBRC as a University Research Centre of Excellence. The SBRC is one of the five currently recognised centres in the University and one of the leading groups in the world in the field of small business and entrepreneurship. The Centre plays a vital role in generating high quality research that helps underpin activity in the University and forge links with a breadth of external stakeholders.
GUESSS National Report for England, co-authored by Marfuga Iskandarova and Robert Blackburn, is published online. GUESSS is an international research project using a geographical and temporal comparison to investigate the entrepreneurial intention and activity of students.
Professor Audley Genus, of Kingston University's Small Business Research Centre, has recruited a doctoral student who will be supported by a three-year studentship funded via a donation from YTL Corporation. The YTL PhD studentship will be held by Leigh Champagnie, who graduated from Kingston University with an MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering in 2014. Leigh will work on a project investigating entrepreneurship in the renewable energy sector, expecting to complete his studies in 2017.
British Academy of Management Professional Development Workshop on "Researching and Engaging with SMEs" organised by Dr Natalia Yakovlena, Professor George Saridakis, Dr Elina Meliou and Professor John Kitching.
The workshop investigated current and future perspectives of engaging with SMEs for academic research and development of business practice and policy. Specifically it discussed four important themes of research in the area of SMEs: leadership, sustainability, economy and impact. These themes were explored in roundtable discussions with active contribution from workshop participants and facilitated by the organisers. At the end of roundtable discussions, participants presented their ideas to the room, which were finalised with open panel discussion.
Professor George Saridakis joined the Editorial Board of Spoudai: Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, Greece.
Prof Kitching is to be appointed a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the International Journal of Entrepreneurial, Behaviour and Research (to start 1 Jan 2015).
John Kitching's Background Paper for the OECD Project on Inclusive Entrepreneurship 'Entrepreneurship and self-employment by people with disabilities' has been published and is available online.
Professor Genus is organising the SCORAI Europe workshop on Sustainable Consumption, which will take place at the Royal Society, London, on 30 September/1 October, 2014 (and for which he has a book contract with Springer publishers). He has been invited to chair a session at a two-day SCORAI Europe workshop on inter-disciplinarity and research and teaching of sustainability at the University of Lausanne, due to take place in December 2014.
Dr John Kitching was appointed Professor on 1 August in recognition of his contribution to field of small business research. Congratulations to Professor Kitching!
Professor George Saridakis and Dr John Kitching with colleagues from University of Winchester had a proposal for a Professional Development Workshop on 'Researching and Engaging with SMEs' accepted for the forthcoming British Academy of Management Conference.
The workshop aims to generate focused discussion on important themes of research in the area of SMEs: leadership, sustainability, economy and impact.
Professor Genus was involved in organising the conference of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production, which took place in Shanghai on June 8-11, 2014. He was recently involved in organising two sessions on sustainable consumption and production at the Degrowth conference in Leipzig, Germany. In 2014 Professor Genus attended the UK National Research and Innovation conference, as well as the Tracing Biofuel Transitions: Policies, Practices and Phaseâ€outs conference in Rotterdam.
Call for papers - The deadline for the submission of papers is 30 November 2014.
Supply Chain Decision Modelling in Times of Unrest, Instability and Change, Operations Research Perspectives, ELSEVIER.
For further information click here.
Professor George Saridakis provided new evidence on the empirical relationship between "Firm Growth and Shareholder Wealth" at SALISES 2014 Conference and chaired the sessions on "Vulnerable Populations, Social Exclusion, Poverty and Inequality" and "Productivity, Efficiency, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness".
Also, he carried out a research visit at The University of the West Indies and examined with colleagues from SALISES and Economics Department the effect of crime on innovation.
The Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development has selected Professor Blackburn's paper as the 'Outstanding Paper of 2013' it has been announced.
His paper entitled 'Small business performance: business, strategy and owner-manager characteristics" focuses on acquiring a heightened understanding of factors that influence small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) performance and in particular, the growth of such companies.
The full paper can be found here.
A senior lecturer in Finance from the University of Seville, María-José Palacín-Sánchez, has arrived for a six week stay to continue further research into a comparison of Spanish SMEs and their capital structure within different European countries including the UK. Maria's work has been previously published in the prestigious journal of 'Small Business Economics' and has presented her work at a number of conferences both in Spain and internationally.
Maria discussed her excitement at being with the SBRC, 'It is a privilege to be able to continue my research in such a renowned Centre, particularly to do with the work done here focusing on SMEs as this is in direct connection with my own work. To be able to count experts such as Professor Blackburn and others in the SBRC, will help to further compare SMEs across Europe and I am truly excited to be here.' Professor Blackburn added' We are delighted to host visiting overseas scholars of such high calibre as it helps stimulate an interesting and creative environment in the SBRC for staff and research students. We will be working with Maria to help her in her research focusing on the capital structure of SMEs in the UK. A recent paper by Professor George Saridakis of the SBRC (co-authored with S. Marlow and D. Storey) has been published in one of the most prestigious journals in the field of entrepreneurship.
A recent paper by Professor George Saridakis of the SBRC (co-authored with S. Marlow and D. Storey) has been published in one of the most prestigious journals in the field of entrepreneurship.
The paper leads the Volume 29 (Issue 3) of the Journal of Business Venturing and investigates an important research question "Do different factors explain male and female self-employment rates?"
The paper employs time-series techniques and offers new insights in the topic and the role of the social and economic factors on the entrepreneurial decision. The analysis challenges existing findings and provide useful information for policy makers.
The full paper can be found here.
In its recent report An Entrepreneurial Profile of Young Enterprise Participants, Kingston University Small Business Research Centre asked 8,000 people aged 18-64 if they had taken part in programmes run by Young Enterprise - the UK's largest business and enterprise education charity - and what effect this had on their lives.
The study was carried out in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and concludes that its findings: "offer clear evidence that taking part in a programme at school or university does appear to have an impact on a set of attitudes which are associated with entrepreneurial potential."
It goes on to say that the principle strengths of Young Enterprise are in developing enterprising skills, attitudes and capabilities that could be used in many situations, not just business.
Professor George Saridakis, Director of the Doctoral Programmes, has been appointed as Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies.
We are delighted to announce that Dr John Kitching's journal article "Are freelancers a neglected form of small business?" published in Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development has been chosen as an Outstanding Paper Award Winner at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013. Well done, John!
Professor Audley Genus been appointed as visiting professor at Anglia Ruskin University, initially for a period of three years from 1 March, 2013. It is hoped that he and the SBRC will develop collaborative projects with Anglia Ruskin staff in the newly established Institute for International Management Practice and in ARU's Global Sustainability Institute. The appointment also opens up the opportunity to develop collaboration on a broader footing between Kingston University and ARU.
SBRC staff presented several papers at the ISBE 35th Annual Conference in Dublin in November. Eva Kasperova and John Kitching received an award for the 'Best paper in Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship track' for a paper entitled '(Dis) Embodied Entrepreneurs: A Critique of Entrepreneurial Identity Studies'.
Classroom entrepreneurs are likely to become the top entrepreneurs of the future - Dr Rosemary Athayde from the Small Business Research centre discovered the findings after conducting a series of in-depth surveys and interviews with 371 people who attended Young Enterprise programmes between 1962, when the charity was founded, and now.
Researchers from the SBRC have had success presenting their work at the ISBE 34th Annual Conference in Sheffield this year.
Thomas Wainwright, Ewald Kibler, Robert Blackburn and Teemu Kautonen were awarded the Best paper in 'Business Creation, Resource Acquisition and Business Closure' track for the paper entitled Who are you calling old?: revisiting notions of age and ability amongst older entrepreneurs.
John Kitching, David Smallbone, Mirela Xheneti and Eva Kasperova won the award for Best Paper in 'Business Sustainability, Development and Growth' track for their paper entitled Adapting to a Fragile Recovery: SME Responses to Recession and Post-Recession Performance.
Eva Kasperova was awarded the 'Best Doctoral Student Award' by the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ECSB) for her paper entitled Entrepreneurial Identity, Disability and Embodiment at the 25th Annual RENT Conference in Norway, 16-18 November. As part of the Award, Eva won a place on USASBE's doctoral consortium which takes place in New Orleans in January 2012.
On the 1st of November, John Kitching presented findings from the study of the value of small company abbreviated accounts at the ICAS discussion event 'SME Reporting and Assurance: Regulatory Burden or Vital Requirement?' in Edinburgh.
John Kitching presented a paper entitled Small company abbreviated accounts: A regulatory burden or a vital disclosure? to an invited audience of practitioners, policy makers and academics at the ICAS Discussion Event in London, 12 October 2011.
John Kitching presented a paper entitled Small company abbreviated accounts: A regulatory burden or a vital disclosure? at the Brunel Accounting Symposium, 17 June 2011.
The SBRC is delighted to announce that Professor Robert Blackburn, Director of the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University has been awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion in recognition of his outstanding achievements in promoting enterprise through research & scholarship in Entrepreneurship and Small Business. He will receive his award from Her Majesty The Queen during the summer. In response to news of Prof Blackburn's award, Professor David Smallbone, Associate Director of the SBRC and President of ICSB, said of Professor Blackburn:
"I have known Robert for over 20 years. His drive, energy and commitment in researching small businesses and entrepreneurship has been outstanding. He is without doubt one of the leading world authorities in the field and he has helped to raise our knowledge levels on understanding entrepreneurship, owner-managers and small firms. I am delighted that Robert's contribution has been recognised by this Queen's Award and would like to add my personal congratulations to him for what is a well-deserved honour."
Asked to comment upon his receipt of the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion, Professor Blackburn said:
"I am truly delighted to receive this Award. Although this is an individual award, doing excellent research is a team effort and I would like to thank all my colleagues, past and present, for their inspiration and support over the years. I have to meet the Queen in July to formally collect the QAEP which should be interesting! I will keep you all posted. In the meantime, there is plenty more research to be done."
Between November 9-11 2011 will see the 8th SMEs in a Global Economy Conference 2011 held at the Nong Khai Campus, Khon Kaen University in Thailand. The event, entitled 'Rising to the Global Challenge: Entrepreneurship and SME development in Asia' also sees Professor Robert Blackburn, Director of the Small Business Research Centre as a key note speaker.
Abstracts for the event are required by the 30th July 2011, with full paper submissions by the 31st August 2011.