In November 2009 ISBE hosted its 32nd Annual Conference at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre in Liverpool. Organised in house for the first time the conference was a great success attracting over 400 delegates from all over the world including leading small business researchers and academics, policy makers and practitioners as well as SME bodies and Support Organisations.
As usual one of the most striking achievements of the conference was its showcasing of the highest quality new research and sharing of best practice with much opportunity for discussion, dissemination and networking. However, there were changes too. 2009 has been an exciting year for ISBE and its recent period of growth and evolution was most clearly demonstrated at this event by the inclusion of innovative new features and ideas, including new tracks, case studies and a greater emphasis on practice.
Professor Colette Henry, ISBE President opened the event and delegates were welcomed by Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council and Professor Sir Howard Newby Vice Chancellor of Liverpool University. Keynote speaker Jonathan Hick then provided an entertaining account of the risks and rewards of his career as a serial entrepreneur.
The discussion and debate which characterises the conference was kickstarted on the first day by a panel debate chaired by Professor Denise Fletcher of Sheffield University which examined the "Recession Coping Strategies" available to small firms and met with lively engagement from the audience. The panel comprised an eminent group of experts from academia, the public and private sectors:
Professor Alistair Anderson, FSB Professor on Entrepreneurship, RGU, Aberdeen Mr John Leake, MD, Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus
Mr Frank McKenna, Downtown Liverpool
Professor David Storey, Warwick Business School
Mr Mike Taylor, Liverpool Vision
The evening networking events were well attended by delegates eager to catch up with old associates and meet new ones and to talk to established and up and coming scholars, policy makers and practitioners in their field. The Crowne Plaza hotel and Novas Gallery provided a pleasant backdrop for conversation and debate over drinks and canapes and of course no ISBE Conference would be complete without a large dose of glitz and glamour which was provided amply by the Gala Dinner. This year the venue was the prestigious St George's Hall a Grade I listed neo-classical building, regarded as one of the finest in the world.
Overall it was a successful 32nd year for the ISBE annual conference which has long been celebrated as the most respected event of its kind and the place to go for the newest and most relevant research, up to the minute thinking and stimulating discussion and debate on small business development and entrepreneurship. For this reason it attracts some of the most eminent practitioners, policy makers and researchers from across the globe.
For more information, delegate accounts and pictures of the 2009 Conference please click here for the ISBE Conference Special e-magazine.