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Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Conference

This year’s Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) conference in Birmingham brought together academics and industry partners from around the world with the overarching theme of facilitating ‘sustainable growth in unexpected places’. The role of entrepreneurship research in creating both incremental and radical impact was spotlighted through specific foci on diversity, upskilling, social and environmental sustainability, and better integrations between academia and practice.

The importance of such a theme for policy and industry was clear. Keynotes from West Midlands’ Mayor Andy Street CBE, serial entrepreneur Richard Harpin (founder of HomeServe and Growth), and head of the OECD Entrepreneurship Policy Unit Jonathan Potter, emphasised the pivotal role HEIs have to play, with additional thoughts from Prof. Aleks Subic (Aston University VC), Jane Galsworthy (MD of Oxford Innovation Advice), Prof. Nola Hewitt-Dundas (Pro-VC Queens’s Management School), Prof. Monder Ram OBE (CREME Director) and Prof. Pablo Munoz-Roman (Co-Director of Durham Enterprise Centre) regarding how this could work in practice.

ISBE conference A team of delegates from Northumbria University’s EPIC Research Centre attended and presented across the 3-day conference, highlighting their latest research and projects working towards overcoming these challenges and progressing both academia and practice.

Firstly, in the Enterprise Education track, Prof. Robert Newbery (Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation) shared his latest research of entrepreneurship perceptions and depictions across popular and cult media (titled: Entrepreneurship art, artefacts and semiotics), before sharing upcoming ideas of a novel gallery presentation developing this work.

ISBE conferenceSteve Ball (Assistant Professor) then discussed research and practical-implications from creating authentic, video assignment feedback for students (titled: Authentic feedback: an evaluation of how enterprising students perceive personalised video feedback – work co-authored by Rose Quan, Sam Clegg and Justin Turner all from Northumbria University).

Samuel Clegg (Associate Lecturer) next presented an alternative methodology for assessing impact from entrepreneurship education (titled: Participant Self-Analysis – A suitable method for evaluating entrepreneurial training programmes? – Co-researched with Dr. Lucy Hatt from Newcastle University).

ISBE conferenceBefore Dr Vicky Mountford-Brown closed the track by taking an identity lens to the issue of imposter syndrome, highlighting potential ways of realising and spotlighting this cultural and public challenge (titled: Becoming Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Educators and Imposterism).

Also in attendance, Dr Adah-Kole Onjewu (Assistant Professor), presented in the International Entrepreneurship track, sharing research regarding firm resilience from extensive SME data (titled: Determinants of Resilience, Innovation and Export Intensity: A Strategy-Creation and Dynamic Capability View, co-authored with Victor Atiase and Salima Paul).

ISBE conferenceOverall, the conference enabled EPIC at Northumbria University to both showcase and further develop cutting-edge research within entrepreneurship and small business practice. The overarching conference mission of better fostering and providing sustainable growth - regarding diversity, upskilling, social and environmental sustainability, and better integrations between academia and practice, is one which firmly resonates with the aims of this Research Centre. EPIC members’ previous and ongoing work in this field is focused on overcoming pivotal challenges facing the region and further afield, and such conferences and symposiums enable Northumbria University to firmly sit at the heart of such future work.

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