Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) Fund – First Call for applications 2023

Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) Fund

First Call for applications 2023

Entrepreneurial Spaces and Places

The ISBE Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) Fund provides financial support to new research activities from academics, third sector organisations, businesses, consultants and practitioners. The fund was created with the aim of assisting the exploration of issues, challenges and opportunities surrounding entrepreneurial activities and small firm performance and to encourage and promote cutting-edge research which is relevant to both the development of policy and practice.

Collaborative bids are invited which draw together any combination of third sector organisations, academic researchers, consultants and practitioners. The Principal Investigator must be employed within a UK institution which is an ISBE organizational member but may be partnered with an international team – indeed this is encouraged. Research teams which demonstrate capacity building through collaborations between experienced and early career academics will be favourably considered; applications which demonstrate ‘in-kind’ contributions from partner organisations are welcomed as are those jointly funded from other sources.  Applications presented as pilot studies, with the aim of generating future funding from other sources, are also encouraged. As such, we wish to promote engagement with all who have an interest or stake in generating further insight and understanding into contemporary entrepreneurial activities, behaviours and practices. Dissemination of impact from the project is a critical issue and should be clearly articulated. Where possible, project dissemination should include academia, policy makers and the small business community. As a minimum successful applicants will be expected to present at least one paper arising from the project at a future ISBE annual conference.

Sponsored by the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) and first launched in 2009, this year the Institute seeks to deploy the RAKE fund to support applications for research aiming to uncover and address inequalities in relation to entrepreneurial activities and small firm performance.

Entrepreneurial Spaces and Places 

Entrepreneurship is a socially embedded and often geographically-bounded or influenced activity, linked to regional development and economic growth. The literature highlights the influence of human, social and financial capital upon entrepreneurial proclivity, experiences and returns (Brush et al., 2017) while the local, regional or national context(s) are considered as a constraining or moderating influences upon such entrepreneurial activity and outcomes (Welter, 2011).

More recently, we have witnessed an increasing focus upon ‘place’, whether reflected in the theoretical consideration of context in entrepreneurship research, or due to the closely entwined nature of place and entrepreneurial activity in research streams such as rural entrepreneurship or international entrepreneurship, or indeed, studies undertaken from a decolonialist perspective in non-Western geographies, studies of ecosystems and sites that support or constrain entrepreneurship such as households or business incubation environments, or the influence of disadvantaged locales upon enterprising activity generally (Parkinson et al., 2017) or within specific groups or communities (Parkinson et al., 2020).

In the UK, the devolved policy landscape which, in turn, informs government financed funding streams has also incorporated a place-based perspective. Academics globally are being tasked to deliver impact from their research to benefit local communities and beyond. This is particularly important when one considers the inequalities tied to different geographical contexts which inform entrepreneurial opportunities. More recently, the invasion of Ukraine reminds us of the challenges faced in certain places such as conflict zones, and the entrepreneurial responses and resilience of individuals, often women, in such contexts (Althalathini, Al-Dajani and Apostolopuu, 2021). Indeed, the theme of ISBE 2023 is ‘Sustainable growth in unexpected places’.  The focus for this year’s RAKE call is, therefore, Enterprising Places and Spaces.

ISBE is committed to advancing knowledge, contributing to relevant debate and assisting members to influence policy through the development of an evidence base and knowledge exchange activities. We, therefore, invite RAKE Fund applications that can assist in this task while also informing our theoretical understanding of the role of place in entrepreneurial opportunities, experiences and outcomes.

Potential submissions may consider, but are not limited to:

  • Establishing an evidence base in relation to the needs, challenges or effective interventions for particular places, spaces and/or communities;
  • Effective place-based policy development approaches or knowledge exchange/engagement activities that can inform policy development for small businesses and enterprise development;
  • Regional challenges to stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation or post-Covid recovery. 

All proposals must clearly demonstrate and describe relevance to ‘Entrepreneurial Spaces and Places’, specify data collection, handling and analysis techniques and dissemination plans.

For this round of funding, we envisage awarding up to three grants of around £2,000 – £4,000.  Awards will not support full economic costing given ISBE’s position as a registered charity. Applications for smaller, seed corn funds would not be discounted; however, we will not consider bids which:

  1. Exceed £4,500
  2. Exceed 1200 words in total (including references/notes/tables/appendices)
  3. Appear to be funding postgraduate students’ course of study
  4. Seek funding for conference attendance and travel.

Successful grant holders will be required to fulfil the following conditions:

  • To be in membership (either as an individual or through Institutional membership) of ISBE for the duration of the award
  • To complete the entire research project within 12 months of confirmation of the award.
  • To complete a final project report within 12 months of confirmation of the award.
  • To present their work at an annual ISBE conference, not later than the one immediately succeeding the completion of the final report.
  • Make summary findings available on the ISBE website, as a blog or news item.
  • To recognise the ISBE RAKE fund in any presentations or publications arising from an award.
  • To report to the RAKE fund management board if requested to discuss research progress.

Failure to meet any of the above conditions will results in non-payment of the RAKE grant.

Deadline for all applications is 5pm on 25th May 2023

RAKE 2023 Application Form


Althalathini, D., Al-Dajani, H. and Apostolopou, N. (2021). ‘The Impact of Islamic Feminism in Empowering Women’s Entrepreneurship in conflict Zones: Evidence from Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.’ Journal of Business Ethics,

Brush, C., Ali, A., Kelley, D. and Greene, P. (2017) The influence of human capital factors and context on women’s entrepreneurship: Which matters more?, Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Volume 8, pp. 105-113.

Parkinson, C., Nowak, V., Howorth, C., & Southern, A. (2020). Multipartite attitudes to enterprise: A comparative study of young people and place. International small business journal38(4), 293-317.

Parkinson, C., Howorth, C., & Southern, A. (2017). The crafting of an (un) enterprising community: Context and the social practice of talk. International Small Business Journal35(4), 385-404.


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