Mr Unisa Dizo-Conteh

Research project: The role of diaspora networks in the expansion of UK SMEs


This research will contribute to the literature on Small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) internationalisation by exploring the role of diaspora networks in the expansion of UK SMEs. The setting is the UK National Health Service commercial bodies, which are a separate limited company, and their international business operations. Network relationships are an important aspect of the study on SME internationalisation and a multitude of network types have been well documented to illustrate this process. However, research shows that despites diaspora's numerous beneficial potential and the novel incentive they offer for entrepreneurship, broadly, they are less recognised in the international entrepreneurship field. In light of this gap, this study aims to address the paucity of research in SME internationalisation and network ties, with diaspora networks as part of the leverage.      


My interest lies at the intersection of diaspora and wealth creation with a focus on addressing global poverty. This has seen me worked collaboratively with many diaspora communities in the UK and abroad in complex project management roles in projects funded by institutional donors including Comic Relief, DFID and EU. It has been truly rewarding working on those projects as they cover diverse areas of diaspora contributions, which includes enterprise and job creation, philanthropy and humanitarian emergencies. As Enterprise and Capacity Manager in a previous role, I managed a social enterprise providing business development support to local SMEs and diaspora enterprises in the context of a developing market economy. While in this role, I authored a study to explore the resilience of local and diaspora SMEs during disasters. Subsequently, I produced several factsheets to provide a route map of the exciting business opportunities that exist on the African continent, as well as how to navigate the key challenges in the business environment.My experience in the public sector comprises roles in strategic procurement and medical education service management, and I currently work as a service manager in the NHS in medical education. 

Areas of research interest

  • Diaspora networks in the expansion of UK SMEs


  • MA Management (with feature journalism)
  • BA Sociology with Economics)