Entrepreneurship Policy and Practice Insights

In January 2023 ISBE launched the Entrepreneurship Policy and Practice Insights with ISSN 2753-3654. We invite all members who want to write a short piece based on one current policy and practice issue related to research and the wider work ISBE could inform. We aim to publish at least one insight piece every other month on the ISBE website and share with its broader audience and membership of over 4000 individuals and institutions, and beyond.

We hope to begin the series by lining up contributions from any member, but in particular from our ISBE Fellows, Board members and SIG leads. A full insight draft of around 700 words is needed two weeks before the proposed release date (around the 20th of each month) to allow some time for editing and formatting. Use the following template for the draft. Word Template: Entrepreneurship Policy and Practice Insights template. If you want to contribute, please get in touch with the editors-in-chief, ">Dr Endrit Kromidha, University of Birmingham, UK, and ">Prof Andrew Henley, Cardiff University, UK. We would be pleased to have a proposed title, short abstract and discuss.

Entrepreneurship Policy and Practice Insights

January 2024, Volume 2, Issue 1: Enhancing Entrepreneurial Leadership and Growth in Small Firms

Emeritus Professor Oswald Jones, University of Liverpool, UK

Although small firms (less than 20 employees) are responsible for the creation of most new jobs, very few grow into larger firms. Most entrepreneurs/owner-managers lack the leadership and managerial skill necessary to grow their businesses. LEAD (Leading Enterprise & Development) and associated programmes have proved extremely effective in providing the leadership expertise necessary for entrepreneurs to facilitate the survival and growth of their small firms in the longer-term. The basis of the LEAD approach is that participating entrepreneurs are encouraged to become part of a learning community of practice. The community provides a safe space in which participants are encouraged to share knowledge and experiences. The emphasis is on individual entrepreneurs finding a leadership approach that works for them and their employees rather than imposing one best way to lead.


November 2023, Vol. 1, Issue 7: Small Business Productivity – A Leading Question?

Professor Andrew Henley, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK

The UK has a long tail of lower productivity firms contributing to stagnant overall productivity growth. Interventions to support small firms, developed over the past 20 years, to improve management and leadership skills have the potential to address this. It is important to understand if such programmes are effective and if so, why. Good evaluation evidence is quite sparse. However, consensus has emerged that for small business the quality of leadership may matter at least as much as the introduction of specific formal management practices. Small business leaders learn to lead as much through networking and the sharing of tacit knowledge, as from formal teaching. Nevertheless, the opportunity costs of participating in leadership development programmes remains a significant constraint.


September 2023, Vol. 1, Issue 6: Enterprise and Small Business: Can We Reduce the Confusion? 

Simon Bridge – Visiting Professor, Ulster University Business School, UK

The word ‘enterprise’ in its wider sense can refer to being flexible, creative and adaptable in any situation – but instead is often used more narrowly to refer to the process of business start-up (sometimes also labelled entrepreneurship). Because of this, enterprise is often treated as a sub-set of business and consequently big business-based thinking is applied to it – such as an assumption of a profit imperative and the advocacy of business plans as the key tool for start-ups. The result is considerable confusion, not least in enterprise education. Therefore, a new paradigm is needed based on accepting the wider interpretation of ‘enterprise’.


August 2023 Vol. 1, Issue 5: How do you create an entrepreneurial learning pipeline – starting from schooling?

Professor Emeritus Andrew Penaluna, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK

This article reflects on a personal journey, based on being a design educator who found many alignments between their past experiences and emerging entrepreneurial learning initiatives.  In 2014 I was amongst a small team invited by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Microbusiness to propose a pipeline for developing entrepreneurial competencies in all learners (Anderson et al., 2014). Our task was to set the scene for a continuous development of entrepreneurial education, starting from schooling. Ten years on, two initiatives have responded to our call. The  Curriculum for Wales is well underway, and the World Bank funded Curriculum in North Macedonia is six years old. Both start the entrepreneurial learning journey at Primary level schooling, so perhaps it is no surprise that the APPG for Entrepreneurship (Conway / APPG, 2022) is asking Westminster Government to look outside their own box of experience, and to enhance English Schooling. Lessons learned include making a distinction between hindsight, insight and foresight learning strategies, aligning learning assessment to the Two I’s of Innovation and Implementation, and understanding how progression models can be developed. At ministerial level, bringing together ministries of business and education has directly informed policy developments.


June 2023 Vol. 1, Issue 4: Unlocking Potential: Rethinking Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship Policies and Perspectives

Professor Monder Ram OBE, Aston University, UK

Ethnic minority businesses (EMBs) are a vital and diverse part of the UK economy and society, but they face many challenges and barriers that limit their potential. I reflect on the shifting perspectives and policy challenges of EMBs, and make the case for a more evidence-based, structural, and inclusive approach to support them. I highlight the role of engaged research institutes, such as CREME, in facilitating collaboration between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to develop effective and responsive policies for EMBs.


May 2023 Vol. 1, Issue 3: SMEs and Net Zero: how to get there (from here)

Professor Richard Blundel, Open University, UK

Reducing the carbon emissions that result from the everyday activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), both in the UK and internationally, is something we need to address urgently as a society.  There is a strong case for focusing more attention on smaller firms: they’re a bigger part of the problem than many people think but could play a decisive role in delivering solutions and embedding lower carbon practices. The central section of the paper provides some background to the issues and highlights a number of important challenges for researchers and policymakers.  It is easy to get disheartened when you are working on climate-related issues, so a few concluding examples of initiatives point a way forward.


March 2023 Vol. 1, Issue 2: Educate, Innovate, Empower

Professor Joan Lockyer, Coventry University, UK

For many years, Governments around the world have been trying to harness the power of entrepreneurship to create a virtuous circle that nurtures the entrepreneurial mindset, stimulates innovation, and leads to economic growth. It is not uncommon to see entrepreneurship and innovation coupled, but it is a little less common to see them linked with empowerment and yet economic empowerment is often a reason given by would-be entrepreneurs as the motivation for their decision to start a new venture, particularly for women and ethnic minority groups.  At the heart of the IBSE philosophy and network is the desire to bring small business, research, policy, and education together and to understanding what’s worked and what has not and why it matters. In this briefing, I will highlight some of the initiatives, the motivations, and outcomes of successive government initiatives. Are they always successful? No. Does it stop them trying? No. Should they keep going regardless? Yes. Are there lesson’s to be learned? Yes.


January 2023 Vol. 1, Issue 1: Women and Self Employment –Why? 

Professor Susan Marlow, Nottingham University, UK

Since the 1990s, the impact of gender upon women’s entrepreneurial activity has become an issue of interest and importance. Much attention has been afforded to evidence that, in advanced economies, women are far less likely to become entrepreneurs; thus, a basic tenet of related research and policy has to been to find avenues to encourage more women to become self-employed. This quest has absorbed much attention and many resources; yet, women’s overall share of self employment has changed little over the intervening years due to high churn. In considering why this is the case, we suggest that whilst the myriad of initiatives may have channelled more women into entrepreneurship, many quickly exit due to poor returns and working conditions. Thus, there is little gendered detriment in women’s entrepreneurial propensity but considerable detriment attached to self-employment compared to waged employment; this became very apparent during the recent COVID pandemic. This raises the issue of why we persist in presenting self-employment as a desirable and empowering form of economic participation for women.