2021 was a very successful year for CIMR. Our contribution to societal knowledge and understanding and influencing thinking continues to grow through our path-breaking research and analysis. We have continued our very successful programme of events and have grown more sophisticated in disseminating what we know and what we do.
Our flagship programme of events, CIMR Debates in Public Policy, brings together our community of scholars, students, policy-makers, professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators to debate contemporary issues and to engage with wide audiences in the UK and worldwide. In 2021, there were thirteen online events plus a wonderful alumni event in December, A Conversation with Touker Suleyman of Dragons’ Den, organised by Melina Padayachy and Doyin Olorunfemi.
A feature of this year has been the development of new partnerships that have taken us in exciting new directions. The basis of this is research and the possibilities that have arisen from colleagues already within the CIMR community.
Four developments are of note:
• First, our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion has been consolidated through research funded by the Regional Studies Association on networks which support disabled and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs. This has led to two new Visiting Fellows joining us, a series of events, a body of new stakeholders who took part in that research as well as two dedicated websites that record our activities.
• Second, CIMR is increasingly internationally collaborative. We are building on our collaborations with the Kogod School of Business, American University and Circle, Lund University with a new formal collaboration with Vaasa University in Finland which ties in our long term colleague Martin Meyer with our new colleague, Ben Laker, Henley School of Business. Exploration of a collaboration with Surrey University is also underway.
• Third, CIMR played a key role in Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics being awarded the Small Business Charter accreditation in December. As well as the outstanding support given to student entrepreneurs, the work of CIMR was recognised: “the stature, relevance, and impact of Birkbeck’s research for policy makers is exemplary”. A development of this will be an enhanced focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses in our future strategy for engagement. Thanks to Dr Pam Yeow for her leadership of this bid.
Fourth, our new fellows are:
Ben Laker – Professor Ben Laker, Henley Business School was introduced to us by Professor Martin Meyer, now at Vaasa University, Finland. Ben has already given our research greater international visibility through publishing articles about our research on Forbes.
Monder Ram OBE – Professor Monder Ram OBE is the Director of Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), based in Aston Business School, Aston University. He has extensive experience of working in, researching and acting as a consultant to small and ethnic minority businesses.
Tim Vorley– Professor Tim Vorley is Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Oxford Brookes Business School and is the VCG lead for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise. Tim currently leads the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/Innovate UK-funded Innovation Caucus and is Co-Director of the ESRC-funded Productivity Insights Network, as well as partnering on several projects under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
Jacqueline Winstanley, FRSA – Jacqueline is Founder CEO Universal Inclusion, the Inclusive Entrepreneur and provides the Secretariat for the APPG for Inclusive Entrepreneurship. She is an entrepreneur, international advisor and inclusion strategist, author, public speaker and poet.
We are indebted to Orla Walsh and Isobel Edwards for working with us on making our events and subsequent communications (blogs, videos, recordings) so professional. We have a wonderful team of people who work together so well including Ayse Seyyide and Yunwen Jiang on the impact grant, Ellen Pei-Yi Yu for editing the termly CIMR newsletters, and our Fellows, students and alumni who do so much in making our programme of events possible.
At the end of the 2020 report I expressed the hope that with mass vaccination we will be able to meet and debate in person. Of course, this has not happened, but our fingers are crossed that the summer term programme of international events involving our partner organisations will be face-to-face.
CIMR’s full report for 2021 is available here
Professor Helen Lawton Smith, Director of CIMR