Untapped potential: The challenge and opportunity of migrant entrepreneurship

by Monder Ram

Migrant entrepreneurship is a notable feature of economies across Europe. Self-employment often provides migrants – and established ethnic minority communities – with a job, a mechanism for survival in a context of racial inequality, and for some, a path to social mobility. There are some spectacular successes: a recent study by the Centre of Entrepreneurs (PDF) looked at immigrant entrepreneurs in the ‘heartland SME segment of the economy’ (companies with a turnover between £1 million and £200 million) and found that foreign-born owners were: responsible for one in seven businesses in the UK; almost twice as entrepreneurial as UK-born individuals; and on average, eight years younger than the typical UK-born entrepreneur.

But my colleagues and I at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) usually focus on the smaller, more mundane – and perhaps more representative – entrepreneurial activities of migrants.

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Seeing and doing the social science in the Industrial Strategy

Tim Vorley 150x150Tim Vorley is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Associate Dean for Engagement, Impact and Innovation at Sheffield University Management School. He is an economic geographer by training, and the focus of his research is entrepreneurship, innovation and regional development. Tim convenes the Innovation Caucus, a group of 66 social science academics across the UK, who are funded by Innovate UK and the Economic and Social Research Council to provide real-time research insights about innovation theory, policy and practice.

mel knetsch 150Melanie Knetsch is ESRC’s Strategic Lead: Interdisciplinarity and Impact. Part of her role includes developing ESRC’s thinking and activities around interdisciplinary, challenge-led activities and ensuring that our research portfolio is more visible to potential users, as well as creating opportunities to enable researchers from other communities to engage with social science. She is currently overseeing ESRC’s engagement with the Industrial Strategy and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

At the beginning of this year the Government opened a consultation on a new Industrial Strategy for the UK.  Throughout the year it has become increasingly apparent that social scientists are not only well positioned to ride the wave of the Industrial Strategy, but they are also making a splash in their own right. Yet, beyond the ‘early engagers’ already involved, there remains a wider need for the social sciences to recognise and articulate the value of what they bring to the Industrial Strategy and the businesses it is intended to support. Continue reading

Time for Parliament to allow for job-sharing MPs?

rosie-campbell 150Rosie Campbell is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London. She has recently written on what voters want from their parliamentary candidates, attitudes to MPs’ roles, the politics of diversity and gender and voting behaviour. She is the principal investigator of the ESRC-funded Representative Audit of Britain.

sarah childs 150Sarah Childs is Professor of Politics and Gender at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research centres on the theory and practice of women’s representation, gender and political parties, and re-gendering parliaments.

Just because MPs don’t job-share at the moment doesn’t mean they never will. We think it’s worth asking why the practices of flexible working, which have helped many people access to the labour market, don’t yet apply to our democratic institutions.

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The Innovation Caucus: Championing the social sciences to support innovation-led growth

Professor Tim Vorley is convening the Innovation Caucus with the support of Dr Chay Brooks. Both are based at Sheffield University Management School, where they are members of the Centre for Economic and Enterprise Development. Tim’s research focuses primarily on the nature of institutional development in fostering entrepreneurial economies, while Chay’s research is focusing on entrepreneurial philanthropy.

Tim Vorley 150x150 Chay Brooks 150x150

From small businesses to global corporations, innovation is recognised as central to economic growth. However, if innovation-led growth is to thrive there is a need to build on insights about the innovation ecosystem in the UK and beyond. Understanding innovation has been a long standing focus of social science researchers across a broad range of disciplines. Social science research has a strong pedigree in generating international insights into innovation, ranging in focus business models to business environments and regulation to societal acceptance.

To enhance the impact of social science research the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has jointly funded a new initiative with Innovate UK to bring our communities closer together and promote collaboration. The recently established Innovation Caucus is a multidisciplinary team of researchers, who are working to ensure social science research informs the strategy and practice of Innovate UK. The Innovation Caucus aims to bridge the knowledge gap by providing Innovate UK strategists, analysts and technologists with research-based insights about the innovation process and the innovation ecosystem. Continue reading