GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK 2023 – Stories from leaders in inclusive innovation & enterprise & launch of the ‘Road to Wonder’ report

The recent Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 between 13-19 November ( ) was a vibrant celebration of innovation and inclusivity, bringing together minds from 200 countries under the theme ‘Entrepreneurs Thrive Here!’. The UK, echoing this sentiment, championed the campaign with the strapline ‘Access All.’

In the heart of this empowering movement, the Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR) at Birkbeck joined hands with Universal Inclusion, making significant contributions to the discourse on inclusive entrepreneurship.

The grand finale of the UK’s participation unfolded at NatWest Bank’s Conference Centre in London, Bishopsgate, hosted by Elaine Gold, founder of GENUK, and Yvonne Greeves, Director of Women in Business at NatWest. The spotlight of the concluding event was on the panel titled ‘Access All,’ ( It was convened and chaired by Jacqueline Winstanley, Founder and CEO of Universal Inclusion, The Inclusive Entrepreneurs Network, and Visiting Fellow at CIMR Birkbeck.

The panel ‘Access All‘ showcased the lived experience of impactful and insightful disabled entrepreneurs, Beth Kume-Holland, Isaac Harvey MBE, Sylvia Mac and Chris Lynch as they introduced us to their personal experiences of being innovators. They work in diverse sectors such as Inclusive Recruitment, Documentary Filmmaking, Broadcasting, Acting, Talent agency and content creation all having roles in public speaking and removing social injustice through the creation of innovation and enterprise.

These leaders in the field of inclusive entrepreneurship showed how disabled innovators are as important as their non-disabled peers within mainstream innovation in growing the economy. This is an important message reiterated by each of the speakers on the panel.

The event reached its pinnacle with the launch of the report: “Road to Wonder Report: Barriers and opportunities to creating innovation and enterprise faced by disabled people: An exploratory study” ( by the lead authors, Professor Helen Lawton Smith, CIMR Director and Jacqueline Winstanley.

Introduced by Dr Shani Dhanda, this groundbreaking report builds on earlier work. A prerequisite for policy innovation is clarity over what is already happening in the disability innovation space. This report provides that clarity.

The report, recommended by the Inclusive Entrepreneur Network and a key element of the APPG for Inclusive Entrepreneurship Programme of Work, responds to the scarcity of data and academic research in this domain. Helen and Jacqueline highlighted key findings, emphasizing the importance of recognizing regional and national actions to reshape narratives, create inclusive pathways to financing, and foster collaboration within policy design and practice.

The report calls for:

  1. Changing the Narrative: Elevating the profile and valuing the contribution of disabled people.
  2. Creating Inclusive Pathways to Finance: Breaking down barriers to financial access.
  3. Building Sector-Led Networks: Collaborating with traditional routes to support innovation.
  4. Refining Access to Work Award: Enhancing the Department of Work and Pension Access to Work award.
  5. Active Inclusion in Innovation Programs: Involving disabled individuals in product design for general and specific disability-related purposes.
  6. Ensuring Ethical Collaboration: Promoting ethical collaboration within policy design and practice.

CIMR’s participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023, exemplifies our strong commitment to inclusivity and innovation. By championing the cause of disabled entrepreneurs, CIMR and its valued members continue to contribute significantly to the global conversation on inclusive entrepreneurship, making strides towards a more accessible and equitable future for all.

We thank again the GEW’s organisers for giving us the opportunity of participating and contributing to this remarkable event.

Cite as Lawton Smith, H., Winstanley, J., et al. 2023 The Road to Wonder. Available at