CIMR Research in Focus 1: Entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion

Welcome to the first edition of CIMR Research in Focus. Each month, we’ll publish a curated list of blogs that dig a little deeper into an area of our research, starting with entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this year, we sat down with Gaby Slavcheva and Mirella Koleva, a mother-daughter duo who are breaking down barriers for women in quantum. The challenges that Gaby and Mirella face as female scientists and entrepreneurs will be familiar to many, including the editors of a new book on gender science and innovation: Helen Lawton Smith; Henry Etzkowitz; Colette Henry; and Alexandra Poulovassilis.

Of course, diversity in innovation extends far beyond gender, as we explored in a Debate in Public Policy exploring what more needs to be done to promote diversity in entrepreneurship.

Innovation opportunities (or the lack thereof) for BAME and disabled entrepreneurs has been the focus of research undertaken by Helen Lawton Smith, made possible by a Regional Studies Association Fellowship Grant. Helen and colleagues’ prior research into improving support for BAME and disabled innovators identified an individual’s awareness of external opportunities and ability to ‘navigate the system’ as key factors in determining their success. Addressing regional inequalities in innovation opportunities for BAME and disabled groups was a logical next step. The CIMR’s exploration of this area to date culminated in our virtual Diversity and Entrepreneurship Workshop in March 2021, where we were delighted to welcome  researchers, policy makers and practitioners to join the discussion and learn from one another’s research and lived experience.

A need for clear and consistent policy to support entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds was a recurring call to action from researchers, but is policy intervention always positive in creating the ideal environment for entrepreneurship? Dr Eva Kašperová, Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) explored this question in our Debate in Public Policy on the role of the welfare state in entrepreneurship.

These insights have helped us paint a picture of inclusive (or otherwise) innovation in the UK and Europe, but what about entrepreneurship in developing regions? Slavo Radosevic, Professor of Industry and Innovation Studies at UCL, the OECD’s Dr Jonathan Potter and our own Dr Manto Gotsi and Dina Mansour shared their insights into how entrepreneurship activity is impacted by national context at our workshop in November 2019.

We hope these offer some food for thought for those interested in inclusive entrepreneurship and we welcome suggestions for future topics and questions to be covered in our policy debates. CIMR can be contacted using the details in our contact page.