Building an Inclusive Business Support Ecosystem

Monder Ram, Punita Bhatt, Gerardo Arriaga, Citizens UK, NatWest Bank and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Enterprise Partnership

Funders: Greater Birmingham and Solihull Enterprise Partnership
Oct 2018 - September 2019

The ‘Building an Inclusive Ecosystem’ (BIE) project provides business support to entrepreneurs in  three disadvantaged areas (Lozells, Small Heath and Sparkhill). It comprises a unique partnership of researchers (CREME), civil society (Citizens UK Birmingham) and the banking sector (NatWest Bank). The first phase of the BIE project exceeded targets by: providing support to over 50 businesses in three disadvantaged areas (Lozells, Small Heath and Sparkhill); interacting with 219 entrepreneurs who had not previously engaged with business support providers; and developing a unique and scalable model of inclusive business support. The next will: draw on the lessons of the first phase; deliver bespoke business support to growth firms in the three areas; and provide a clear pathway to ensure that such support becomes part and parcel of ‘mainstream’ business support provision.


Rethinking Migrant Entrepreneurship

Monder Ram, Maria Villares (Southampton University), Sabina Doldor, Gerardo Arriaga, and Ashley Community Housing (ACH)

Funders: ESRC, ACH and CREME
Oct 2015 - Sept 2019

A long-term programme of knowledge exchange that comprises a variety of different interventions, including academic research on the aspirations of refugee entrepreneurs; capacity-building support for ACH staff; and collaboration on ACH’s national ‘Rethinking Refugees’ campaign, which aims to promote a positive discourse on refugees in the UK.


The Psychological Contract and Migrant Entrepreneurs

Sudeshna Bhattacharya, Monder Ram and Trevor Jones

Funder: Aston Business School
December 2018 - November 2018

What is the career trajectory of migrant entrepreneurs? This is a rarely explored question, and it easy to see why: migrant businesses are often precarious with limited prospects for longevity; micro-businesses (which encompasses most migrant enterprises) remain small and are pre-occupied with day-to-day survival; and such firms lack internal labour markets, thus problematising the notion of ‘career’. This project generates new academic knowledge by interrogating a unique qualitative data set comprising case studies of migrant firms studied since 2010. We revisit these firms and examine the extent to which the notion of career helps to explain their trajectories. 


Refugee Entrepreneurs: Now and Then

Monder Ram, Trevor Jones, Maria Villares (Southampton University), Sabina Doldor and Hongqin Li

Funder: CREME
December 2017 - November 2019

What happens to refugees during the entrepreneurial life-cycle? Do refugees simply view entrepreneurship as means of survival? Do they simply ‘get’ by’ on a day-to-day basis? Or is their scope for significant growth? We examine these questions in our longitudinal qualitative study of how refugee-origin entrepreneurs in the UK develop their businesses over a period of time.


The Evolution of Business Support Policy for Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurs

Richard Roberts, Monder Ram and Trevor Jones

This project seeks to use a mixture of archival and contemporary sources of research material to chart the development and content of UK business support for the SME community.  While much has been written about the importance of the Bolton Inquiry into small firms (1969-71) most of this concentrates on the political circumstances at the time.  Virtually nothing has been researched to identify the linkages between the Inquiry and subsequently the detailed emergence and development of specific support policies.  Initial work is underway on charting the development of EMB policy between the late 1970s and today with a view to a greater understanding of policy issues.  Similar work is already planned on small business finance policy with other areas to be investigated when time and resources allow.


Productivity from Below: Addressing the Productivity Challenges of Microbusinesses

Monder Ram, Mark Hart, Luke Fletcher, Judy Scully, Anne Green (Birmingham  and Stephen Roper. Non-academic partners: Ashley Community Housing, the Bangladeshi Network, Citizens UK and Punch Records

Funder: ESRC
February 2019-January 2021

This project uses academic research, co-produced with practitioners, to design and implement scalable policies to boost productivity by strengthening management practices in micro-businesses (with 1-9 employees). The project will focus on businesses owned and run by disadvantaged communities in the West Midlands, who are some of the 'toughest nuts to crack' in terms of business support for enhancing productivity. 


Innovation, Diversity and Supply Chains

Nick Theodorakopolous, Monder Ram and ABS Colleagues

Funder: European Social Investment Fund
November 2019 - October 2022