Knowledge Exchange for Entrepreneurship in Permaculture (KEEP)

The 'Knowledge Exchange for Entrepreneurship in Permaculture (KEEP)' project was funded by the ESRC/ISBE Research and Knowledge Exchange(RAKE) initiative. The project began on 1 January 2016 and ended on September 30, 2016.

KEEP was a collaboration between the Permaculture Association and Kingston University's Small Business Research Centre(SBRC). The Permaculture Association aims to help people who want to start or develop small firms based on the principles of permaculture (ecological design and sustainable living) to do so.

Kingston University has an excellent reputation for supporting and researching entrepreneurship and through the SBRC has achieved both in relation to furthering the Permaculture Association's aims, which involved setting up a permaculture enterprise hub, and improving the state of knowledge about sustainability-related entrepreneurship.

The project involved interviews with entrepreneurs running permaculture-based businesses. A wide range of beneficiaries learnt about how to set up successful permaculture businesses from the outputs of the project, which included the first ever mapping of UK permaculture businesses, a Permaculture Enterprise Handbook and six case studies, as well as research papers and presentations.

The project provided practical support for practitioners in the form of two permaculture enterprise workshops (one held in the north of England, the other in London) and researcher development for an early career researcher.

Meet the KEEP research team

Professor Audley Genus

YTL Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Kingston University

Audley has research interests in the areas of innovation, community entrepreneurship and technology policy, and new approaches for stimulating 'green' innovation. His work has been funded by the EU and the UK research councils, amongst others. As well as being principal investigator on the KEEP project, Audley leads the project Institutional Entrepreneurship: Community Renewable Energy in England. He is currently editing his fourth book, which is called 'Sustainable Consumption, Design and Innovation', and is due to published by Springer in 2016. He is a member of the steering committee of SCORAI Europe, and has recently organised and chaired workshops on sustainable consumption and production at the Royal Society of Arts, London and on transition, transformation and social innovation, held at the Impact Hub, Vienna.

Dr. Chris Warburton-Brown

Research Director, the Permaculture Association (UK)

His role involves delivering the Association's research strategy, leading the Association's Research Team, supporting members with research, managing staff, writing articles, fund raising, creating web content, organising annual research trials.

The main projects he has delivered are outlined individually on the Permaculture Association website. They include: the Permaculture Research Digest; the Permaculture Soil and Biodiversity Tests project; the Permaculture Association research web pages; the International Permaculture Conference Speaker programme; Bradford University Peace Studies Interns Programme; the Permaculture International Research Network; and the online Permaculture Knowledge Base.

Dr Marfuga Iskandarova

Research Assistant, Small Business Research Centre, Kingston University

Marfuga has a range of experience and an interdisciplinary background in research and teaching. She holds a First Class Honours Degree in Jurisprudence from the Bashkir State University (1998), a LLM degree in Law and Sustainable Development from the University of Aberdeen (2007), a Candidate of Science degree in Environmental Law from Saratov State Academy of Law (2005) and a PhD from the University of Exeter (2013).

Marfuga's PhD project brought together her enduring interests in policy and regulation, energy and emerging technologies, and is primarily associated with Science and Technology Studies (STS), focusing on new renewable energy technologies. It offered an empirical input to the current debate on energy transitions and providing an insight into the process of path creation for emerging industries, such as wave energy industry.

Marfuga joined the Small Business Research Centre, Kingston University in March 2014, as a Research Assistant. In the SBRC she is involved in several projects related to community energy, responsible innovation, entrepreneurship and small business.

KEEP Publications and other Outputs

Expected KEEP project outputs (this section will be updated as the project progresses)

(a) Reports of project findings

Preliminary report to elicit feedback from PA members; plain language project report to be sent to key policy makers / industry organisations.

(b) 2 research publications

(1x conference paper for ISBE annual conference 2016 and 1 x research journal article, to be submitted by the end of 2016).

(c) Case studies and article for Permaculture Association

Collection of 6 x 250-500 word case studies and list of practitioner suggested case studies with links. Enterprise development session at the 2016 International Permaculture Conference & Convergence. Article to be placed in the PA newsletter and its magazine, as well as on the KEEP website.

(d) Permaculture Enterprise Handbook

This will follow a similar design to the recently completed Permaculture Research Handbook. It will include a map of PA enterprises created from data gathered as part of the project, descriptions of the case studies, explain the lessons learned from the project, and set out advice for those wishing to begin or improve a permaculture enterprise.

(e) Mapping of permaculture enterprises - as mentioned in (d)

(f) A report will be prepared on the two workshops to be held at the end of the project and made available online.

KEEP News and Events

Enterprise Gathering (September 2016)

The Permaculture Enterprise handbook will be launched at the UK's first permaculture enterprise gathering, a one-day event for those involved in permaculture enterprises, to be held in London. Delegates will consist of people from both new and well established enterprises. They will be able to share their knowledge and experiences, develop business models, identify synergies and new business opportunities, increase collaboration, discuss the lessons learned from this project, evaluate the Enterprise Handbook, learn from one another, and develop peer support relationships. Representatives from ISBE and allied initiatives will be invited to attend.

ISBE/Permaculture Association regional event (end of September 2016).

This was be a repeat of the above event but held in the north of England.

Contact us

Audley Genus:
Marfuga Iskandarova:
Chris Warburton-Brown:


Audley Genus on: 0208 417 5665
Marfuga Iskandarova on: 0208 417 5572
Chris Warburton Brown on: 0113 2307461

Postal address:

KEEP Project
c/o Professor Audley Genus
4th floor, Kingston Business School
Kingston University
Kingston Hill
Kingston upon Thames 
United Kingdom

Kingston Business School Research Centre and groups