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Current research

Job creation in born global enterprises

This project, undertaken by Hang Do and Robert Blackburn, aims to investigate the motivations for, processes applied in and external support needs related to job creation in the UK by born global enterprises. The study also focuses on analysing the characteristics of the created jobs and the effects of job creation on firm performance. The project, commissioned by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND), involves partners from five EU countries led by IKEI in Spain.

Knowledge exchange for entrepreneurship in permaculture (KEEP)

This project aims to support members of Permaculture Association (PA) who want to set up and grow businesses based on ecological principles. It will also help PA to develop its own capabilities as an enterprise and innovation-supporting organisation. The project team is led by Prof Audley Genus who has secured a grant from the ISBE Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) initiative, sponsored by the ESRC among others, working with Dr Marfuga Iskandarova from the SBRC and Dr Chris Warburton-Brown, Research Director at the PA. The RAKE project lasts throughout 2016, but the idea is to make the Kingston University / Permaculture Association collaboration an enduring one. It is expected that results of the project will be presented at the 2016 conference of the Instititue of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. There will also be dedicated workshops for PA members and a handbook including case studies of permaculture-inspired entrepreneurship. FInd out more visit the KEEP website

The legal needs of small businesses: an analysis of small businesses' experience of legal problems, capacity and attitudes

This research presents new empirical evidence on small businesses' experiences of legal problems and their strategies and actions in dealing with these problems. It draws upon a sample of over 10,000 small business respondents and includes a longitudinal panel of over 1000. The analysis first examines the use of legal services by small firms and how this has changed; and second, models small firms' use of legal services to help identify the particular characteristics of firms in relation to the legal problems they face and how these are addressed. The research was commissioned by the Legal Services Board.

Educating for entrepreneurship: a national study in Spain

In collaboration with University of Seville, Rosemary Athayde is undertaking a national evaluation study of enterprise education in Spain, using her Attitudes to Enterprise Test. The purpose of the project is threefold. First, to determine the degree of students' entrepreneurial identity throughout the Spanish educational system. Second, to interpret - based on the assessment carried out - the present situation of entrepreneurship education for young adolescents in Spain. And third, to guide decision-making for planning, development and evaluation of programmes aimed at promoting the entrepreneurial culture in Spanish compulsory education.

SESAME: small business responses to flooding and flood risk

Following earlier research into adaptation to flood risk (including projects funded by Defra and the Royal Geographical Society), the Centre is part of a 3-year collaborative EPSRC research programme to find ways of encouraging flood preparedness amongst the UK’s small businesses. Working with the universities of Durham, Leeds, Sheffield and the West of England, we are seeking to model small business behaviours during and after floods, and understand the factors that lead them to adapt to flood risk. We are also co-producing and testing, in partnership with businesses from Tewkesbury and other stakeholders, a Web-2 digital resource aimed at provoking business-to-business communication and providing multi-media information resources about flood risk adaptation. Further details: SESAME website  

Managing small firms through and out of recession

This study is an extension of an existing project that was concerned with assessing the effects of recession on micro and small businesses, and looking at the responses made by firms to these effects. The previous work involved two rounds of survey work and two rounds of case studies. 28 case studies were completed, 19 of which had a longitudinal element with two rounds of interviews. These data were analysed to identify the nature of the responses made by the panel of firms to different recessionary impacts. The present study focuses, firstly, on the strategies and actions taken by managers to cope with and respond to recession, secondly, the effects of these on the future development potential of the businesses and, thirdly, to see to what extent the first group of actions impacted on the effectiveness of the second.

Attitudes to Enterprise (ATE) Test

The ATE test measures young people’s attitudes towards 5 characteristics associated with entrepreneurship: creativity; leadership; intuition; personal control; and achievement.  Kingston University Business School and Aston Business School are running the test in the UK, and Kingston Business School oversees the collection of an international dataset begun 5 years ago.  The ATE test is currently being used in 13 countries: Spain; Croatia; South Africa; United States; Dubai; Qatar; New Zealand; Indonesia; Malaysia; India; Australia; China and the UK.  By using the same psychometric test data can be harmonised across countries. 

Publications of studies using the test have appeared in Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice; International Review of Entrepreneurship, and Education & Training; and presented at the Institute of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference and the International Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference. Contact Rosemary Athayde for more information.

Tracking UK freelancer trends 1992-2014

Using secondary data from the Labour Force Survey, this project identifies trends in UK freelance workforce numbers and in self-employment during the past 20 years. The data distinguishes between those working freelance in main jobs and those working freelance in second jobs, with some other status in their main job.

Estimating the value of the UK contingent workforce, 2013

Using secondary data from the Labour Force Survey, this project estimates the value of the contingent workforce in the UK. Gross weekly earnings data are used to estimate the economic contribution of a diverse range of labour market groups, including those employees working on a temporary basis, employees working on zero hours contracts and the self-employed.

Study on the compliance by member States on the time needed to get licences and permits to take up and perform the specific activity of an enterprise as from beginning of 2014: UK National Fiche

This project forms part of a 37-country study covering EU and non-EU nations.  The study investigates licensing and permit requirements for small firms in five sectors (hotel with a restaurant, plumber, wholesale & retail distribution, manufacturer of steel products, IT device manufacturer) and small firm experiences of the licensing regime. The fiche details policy objectives and action taken to meet commitments under the EU Services Directive, as well as small firms’ experiences of seeking licenses in terms of time taken and fees incurred.

The role of accountants on SME credit applications: charges and outcomes (funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland)

This project is funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. This research aims to test the following two hypotheses: 1) The use of accountants for advice on finance increases the probability of successful credit application; 2) The use of accountants influences contract terms on loan agreements.

Global university entrepreneurial spirit students’ survey (GUESSS)

GUESSS is an international research project using a geographical and temporal comparison to investigate the entrepreneurial intention and activity of students. Thirty four countries participated in the sixth edition of GUESSS in 2013/2014. As an entrepreneurship research platform, GUESSS helps to identify antecedents and boundary conditions in the context of new venture creation and entrepreneurial careers in general and helps the participating countries to reflect on their entrepreneurial spirit with regard to specific basic founding conditions that drive students to become entrepreneurs.

The structure and development of the role of independent editors

There has been a rise in the number of independent editors in the economy. This project led by Dr Alison Baverstock (with Professor Robert Blackburn and Dr Marfuga Iskandarova), seeks to explore the motivations, working patterns and experiences of independent editors. The study involves a survey of editors and interviews with those in the publishing industry. The research will be of interest to analysts of micro enterprises and of use to those in the editorial and publishing industry.

Business and network of enterprising women

This study looks at the impact of women entrepreneurship on the economic, social and cultural local development. It is part of the European project 'Business and network of enterprising women' (B.NEW) which aims at promoting women entrepreneurship in French and English areas around the English Channel. The purpose of the study is to define an indicator to determine the impact of women entrepreneurship on the development and activity of French and English territories and to analyse support policies for women entrepreneurship.

Cost of the cumulative effects of compliance with EU Law for SMEs

We are currently working with the Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services on this European Commission-funded study. Our role in the study is to provide a review of the research literature and methodological approaches prior to the rollout of the fieldwork stage. The study will investigate the cumulative effects generated by compliance with EU legislation and its national implementation on SMEs in 5 sectors in 9 countries.


ADSET is a collaborative project with Dr Anne-Marie Coles and Dr Athena Piterou of University of Greenwich on a study of innovation and projects relating to the installation of renewable energy technologies in London. The project identifies local renewable energy projects and technologies; and the network, institutional and managerial factors affecting their conduct and performance. The ADSET project identifies on-site energy generation projects in London, and compiles a database comprising renewable and energy efficient microgeneration installations in multi-occupancy buildings. The project employs social network analysis to examine relationships between energy generation projects and organisations associated with them.

The development of a measure of the innovative characteristics of young people

In 2007, NESTA commissioned Professor Chell and her team (Rosemary Athayde and Andrew Greenman) to carry out work to identify the innovative characteristics of young people and develop a measure of these characteristics. The conceptual basis of this work drew from the research for her book – Elizabeth Chell (2008) ‘The Entrepreneurial Personality – a social construction’, Routledge/The Psychology Press. The method has in part drawn on Rosemary’s doctoral work. For further detail of this work, please see the NESTA website.

The project team continued to test the Tool further, and to establish norms by age of student (ages 14-19 years). Professor Chell has now worked with a software company, Lightbox, to produce a web-based version of the Tool. This can be found at: My Future NESTA. Students completing the web-bases questionnaire can receive a report of their innovation characteristics profile by clicking on 'report' at the end of the survey instrument. The profile is accompanied by guidance notes for personal development purposes. We are currently licensing the Tool to suitable providers. The resource is free to use.


The KAVERN project ties together research, curriculum development and enterprise. The idea behind the KAVERN (Kingston Audio-visual Entrepreneurship Resources and Network) project – funded through a donation from YTL Corporation - is to build up a bank of evidence of the activities of entrepreneurs and to help users learn about the challenges with which entrepreneurs, and would-be entrepreneurs, have to contend – and how these differ according to background and sector. The first phase of KAVERN includes about 30 video interviews, conducted with local entrepreneurs and with key players in the emergence of the global software industry. These have been uploaded to the KAVERN repository. Kingston University staff and students can access KAVERN via the Kingston University Media Library or My Kingston > Tools > Media Library. The establishment of the KAVERN repository was facilitated by the assistance of Charles Miller, a visiting fellow and - amongst other things – producer of The Money Programme for the BBC. Charles continues to work with KAVERN, for example by bringing in entrepreneurs to share their experiences with Kingston University students.

The second phase of KAVERN focuses on entrepreneurs in the renewable energy sector and the activities that contribute to the creation of sustainable pathways to low carbon futures/society.  In the second phase, known as K2, the project will help students, researchers, entrepreneurs, practitioners and policy makers understand the growth of low carbon/community renewable energy enterprises in the UK, the challenges they face, how to improve existing practices, and will seek to help entrepreneurs and communities to learn from each other. The plan is upload case studies, discussion papers or think pieces, and a summary of findings from the research to the KAVERN repository, in addition to disseminating the results via academic journal articles and at conferences, seminars and workshops.

New deal for innovation

This project is being funded via ERDF funding from the EU Interreg IVa France – England programme and is being carried out with colleagues at University of Greenwich, Business Skills Kent, chambers of commerce in Normandy and others (the total funding awarded to the consortium was 1.67 million euros, for a project with a total budget of 3.3 million). The project investigates the support needs of innovative small and micro-businesses and is scheduled to end in 2015. In relation to this the project highlights a number of themes which need to be taken into account in the provision of effective business support for micro-businesses in particular. These include their tendency to be located within the service sector, their reliance on local and regional markets, the importance of networking and collaboration, the target clientele and focus of the support and related policies, the role of intermediary organisations, and the legitimacy of agencies offering business support.


David and Ina share their experiences of studying a business course



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