An empirical exploratory analysis of how food and drink businesses in the UK can develop dynamic capabilities for innovation and resilience through lessons learned from disruptive events
Dr Adekunle Oke, Leeds Beckett University, Dr Faith Jeremiah, Lincoln University & Dr Elizabeth Heyworth-Thomas, Bangor University


This research investigates how manufacturing SMEs in the UK food and drink sector can be resilient to the changing market dynamics to foster sustainable growth by developing resilience capabilities through supply networks (i.e., intra- and inter-firm) learning. Food and drink are a critical infrastructural sector in the UK; however, recent events, such as COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, have shown that the sector’s supply chains are vulnerable and fragile, affecting the overall performance of food and drink SMEs. This research uses documentary analysis and 24 semi-structured interviews to explore lessons learned from disruptions and design a learning framework for manufacturing SMEs in the food and drink sector to capture lessons and translate knowledge into dynamic capabilities for resilience. It addresses how food and drink manufacturing SMEs can purposefully and systematically capture lessons to make their operations and supply chains responsive and resilient. The research empowers SMEs in the food and drink sector to adapt to dynamic market conditions, continuously meet their customers’ needs, achieve sustainable competitive advantage, and bolster their operations and supply chain resilience.

Navigating Space: Spatial Barriers and Bedouin Women’s Entrepreneurial Resilience in Sinai
Dr Christine Habib & Dr Emilee Simmons, Leeds Trinity University


This project examines the entrepreneurial challenges and resilience of Bedouin women in Egypt’s Sinai region, who engage in traditional embroidery and weaving. These women face unique spatial barriers such as limited market access, inadequate infrastructure, and socio-cultural constraints. Their situation is exacerbated by a declining tourism industry, crucial for their businesses. Geographically marginalised, understanding their experiences is essential for policy development aimed at revitalising historically neglected regions. The Sinai Peninsula, encompassing about 23,000 square miles and housing a modest population of 550,000 from Egypt’s total of 100 million, is primarily inhabited by Bedouins, or nomadic Arabs. In recent decades, North Sinai has contended with severe political, economic, social, and developmental challenges, worsening conditions like unemployment, poverty, and displacement. With one of the highest unemployment rates in Egypt and a 38.4% poverty rate in 2018 (CAPMAS, 2018), the region’s issues are pressing. The study’s goals are to identify and analyse the specific spatial obstacles Bedouin women face in their entrepreneurial ventures, explore their strategies and resilience, and propose policies to enhance their business ecosystem. This research not only aims to shed light on the entrepreneurial environment in Sinai but also challenges the Western-centric views of entrepreneurship by emphasising the importance of geographical and socio-cultural contexts in shaping entrepreneurial activities. The findings have the potential to influence a broad range of contexts beyond Sinai and offer insights applicable to other left behind places.