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Current research

Study on the Future of Manufacturing: Born Globals and their International Value Chains

This project, funded by Eurofound, aims to explore the international activities of ‘born global enterprises’ within their international value chains, and to develop policy pointers on the promotion of SME internationalisation.  The project is led by Prof. David Smallbone and the SBRC team working in collaborataion with the partner IKEI (Spain) to elaborate the study within 10 EU countries, including Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Estonia and Italy and Romania. The outputs of this project are embedded into a larger project of Eurofound and the European Commission intended to analyse the future of manufacturing activities in Europe.

Assessment of Inclusive Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes in the UK- OECD

This project led by Prof. Robert Blackburn aims to explore the existing performance and barriers of the disadvantaged self-employed and entrepreneurs in the UK. The assessment covers the scale of enterprise support and challenges and needs of disadvantaged entrepreneurs including youths, seniors, women, unemployed and people with disabilities.  Recommendations will be proposed for improvement of policy interventions.

SME internationalisation under turbulent environment

This project, funded by Kingston University, aims to investigate the SME internationalisation performance under turbulent environment. Led by Dr. Hang Do, the study explores the motivations, challenges and needs of SME owner-managers in the internationalisation process, as well as their international management under market risks, political and economic risks, and financial risks.  The outputs will lay the background to generate a national cross sector study, focusing on Born Global Enterprises, building the bridge between SMEs and policy-makers to enhance international performances of SMEs in the UK.

Global university entrepreneurial spirit students’ survey (GUESSS) 2016

GUESSS is an international research project using a geographical and temporal comparison to investigate the entrepreneurial intention and activity of students. 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.

Tailor-made support for SMEs towards effective implementation of the EU’s trade and investment strategy

This is a part of the European Parliament project investigating the tailor-made support for SMEs towards effective implementation of the EU's trade and investment strategy. It aims to develop successful internationalisation strategies for European SMEs to build up an export base and choice of lucrative markets. The research outcomes seek to clarify how far EU interventions have addressed the needs of SMEs in internationalisation, to identify the gaps in support and challenges ahead, and to propose intervention strategies to the European Parliament to simulate SMEs in the internationalisation process.

Evaluation and analysis of good practices in promoting and supporting migrant entrepreneurship

The aim of this evaluation project is to assess policies and initiatives supporting migrant entrepreneurship across the EU. The evaluation will result in the elaboration of 20 best practices and a benchmark tool, which will serve as a reference to design and/or improve such schemes across Europe. Additionally, the project examines the potential value of creating a European network of centres for migrant entrepreneurship and provides recommendations for the effectiveness of such network. The project involves a number of consortium partners, including the SBRC, and is led by the Valdani Vicari & Associati.

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.

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.

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.


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 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.

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