Call for Chapters: Disadvantaged Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem



New Book Call for Chapters

The increased focus on high growth, scale up entrepreneurship, often facilitated through the entrepreneurial ecosystem risks overlooking the effects of entrepreneurship on groups often affected by multiple sets of disadvantage. The business and entrepreneurship literature is dominated by agency-based, economically-driven high growth entrepreneurship, with a focus on how to encourage and support more of this scale up activity and an assumption that this is the normative model of business and venturing. This is, however, clearly not the case for most firms given that over 90% of the private sector in most developed economies is made up of firms employing 0-9 people. There is relatively little exploration of these types of firms in the theory or practitioner literature. Meanwhile, there is reason to believe that those for whom the term ‘disadvantage’ might apply are disproportionately represented in the start-up  and new firm phase, given that self-employment is often said to be highly suitable for lone parents and disabled people, amongst others, because of its assumed work/life flexibility. Again, however, there is little inspection of this. By engaging with these issues, this book represents some first steps to addressing this knowledge deficit.   A new publication on this topic is therefore needed at this time because of the dearth of previous literature discussing entrepreneurship for disadvantaged groups in the context of the entrepreneurial ecosystems built to support entrepreneurial activity.

Recent events also have the potential to impact in this area. For example, in the UK (and other parts of Europe) austerity may have had impacts (via its effects on welfare state provision and public sector structures and support) on the ability of disadvantaged individuals and communities to engage in entrepreneurship, and for alternative ecosystems to emerge. There are also potential impacts from the growth of phenomenon such as the ‘sharing’ economy, whilst more fragmented work patterns are also changing the nature of self-employment, creating differential effects on entrepreneurship for the capital-poor disadvantaged, and those in disadvantaged places.

In addition perceptions of policymakers, that increasing self employment for such groups is necessarily beneficial to those groups is also an area requiring increased scrutiny. This is the case both generally, and also in the context of intersectionality, given the multiple levels of disadvantage that may face potential and actual entrepreneurs. The book therefore addresses how different ‘sorts’ of people in different ‘sorts’ of places engage in entrepreneurship, and build or access relationships and networks to support their activities, focusing on several novel and worthwhile elements.

First, whilst a number of existing papers and narratives focus on the relationship between disadvantage and entrepreneurship, there is a lack of more substantive and current extended work that addresses the subject across a number of different characteristics. Second, it is explicitly recognised that entrepreneurship ecosystems constructed by disadvantaged entrepreneurs will exist beside, within and perhaps in opposition to existing and ‘mainstream’ systems, with relevant dynamics being extremely important. Third, entrepreneurship policy in the UK has largely failed to widen engagement in entrepreneurship in recent decades, particularly for disadvantaged people and places, and this book is designed to offer a valuable addition to the policy toolkit.

The purpose of the publication, therefore will be to help to close the current gaps in the literature with regards to groups that are disadvantaged with regards to entrepreneurial activities due to issues including

  • gender,
  • ethnicity and migrant status,
  • socio-economic background
  • economic geography,
  • health,
  • education,
  • caring responsibilities,
  • culture,
  • specific changes in sectoral changes and working patterns
  • broad changes in economic structures and processes (e.g. “sharing economy”, co-working, fragmented working)
  • impacts of austerity and other government policies
  • combinations of these factors.

The contributions the publication would make to the field would be to identify new evidence with regards to the impacts of entrepreneurial ecosystems on disadvantaged groups, the effects of disadvantaged groups on their ecosystems, the ways in which “bridges” between nested ecosystems are built and how policy can be developed to support these entrepreneurial activities to generate better outcomes for both the entrepreneur and the wider ecosystem.

Topics for the book therefore will need to explore the impacts of different sources of disadvantaged entrepreneurship (defined singly or intersectionally) and its interrelationships with entrepreneurial ecosystems (including nested systems),including impacts on policy . It is envisaged this will take place through new developments in the field, particularly (though not exclusively) intersectional approaches, specifically (though again not exclusively) those in the disciplines of entrepreneurship and / or enterprise development in the following subsections:-

  • The impact of intersectionality on disadvantaged entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems;
  • The nature of ‘alternative’ entrepreneurial ecosystems and their relationship to more established networks and structures;
  • Cases from specific economic geographies (e.g. specific region focused, or UK or other nation focused) that are less visible in the literature;
  • Effects of characteristics of disadvantage that are less focused upon in relation to entrepreneurship.
  • Evaluating impacts on disadvantaged entrepreneurship and its entrepreneurial ecosystem from factors such as austerity and / or recent trends such as the sharing economy, co-working, fragmented work, etc.

Whilst the call is deliberately “high level”, not prescribing the geographic area or timeframe under analysis, the assumption is that studies will focus on timeframes since 2008. The structure of individual chapters, language and approach used should be explicitly policymaker-friendly, and appealing to business researchers and advanced level students engaged in study related to business, entrepreneurship, venturing and employment, such as final year Batchelor’s and Master’s students, as well as engaged practitioners, politicians and third sector players, given the policy and practice implications.


Disadvantaged entrepreneurship, nested entrepreneurial ecosystems, enterprise policy development, intersectionality

Call for papers: 1st November 2019

Deadline for submission : 1st May  2020

Delivery of completed manuscript : 31st September 2020


Proposed Chapter Structure: Maximum of 10,000 words, structured as follows:-

  1. Introduction: Purpose / Objectives
  2. Prior Work: Literature Review
  3. Approach: Research Design/methodology
  4. Results: Findings
  5. Implications : Discussion
  6. Conclusions: Originality/value, Research limitations


Name: Martina Battisti
Academic or professional affiliation: University of Portsmouth
Contact number:02392844833
Email address:
Personal website: 

Name: Zoe Dann
Academic or professional affiliation: University of Portsmouth
Contact number:02392844827
Email address:
Personal website

Name: Carol Ekinsmyth
Academic or professional affiliation: University of Portsmouth
Contact number:02392842474
Email address:
Personal website

Name: David Pickernell
Academic or professional affiliation: University of Portsmouth
Contact number:02392844184
Email address:
Personal website:

Editor biographies:

Martina Battisti is a Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Portsmouth Business School, having previously led the New Zealand Centre for SME Research at Massey University. She is also currently Visiting Professor at Innsbruck University. Martina has undertaken commissioned research and consultancy for a number of government agencies around the world including Austria, New Zealand and the OECD. From 2007 to 2011, she has led, the first longitudinal survey of SMEs in New Zealand which has created a body of theoretical knowledge with implications for policy and practice. Martina is currently Co-Editor of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research. In the past she served on the board of the International Council of Small Business (ICSB), the Small Enterprise Association Australia and New Zealand (SEAANZ) as well as a number of government advisory boards. Martina is experienced in organising national and international conferences for an academic as well as practitioner and policy audience. Her professional background provides her with relevant small business and startup experience and she regularly assists start-ups as a mentor.

Zoe Dann is Associate Dean (Students) and a Senior Lecturer in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Law at the University of Portsmouth.  Her research and teaching has focused on entrepreneurship and innovation and making learning authentic, as an enterprise educator. She was principal investigator for Leadership in Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education, a collaborative action-based project with University of Winchester and has a place on the board of the Cathedral Innovation Centre a local business incubator and social enterprise. Zoe has previously published articles on NPD development and innovation and applied the findings to knowledge transfer work (circa £800K) with large and small businesses.  Her current interests are in entrepreneurship pedagogy and academic entrepreneurship.

Carol Ekinsmyth is a Principal Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Portsmouth. She graduated with a BA in Geography from University of Leicester in 1984 and a PhD (Leicester) in 1988.  In 1993, she joined the Department of Geography at Portsmouth as a Lecturer. Since 1999, she has been the Departmental Courses Leader for Curriculum Enhancement and Quality. Carol has been Principle Lecturer since 2008 and also acted as External Examiner at the University of Brighton for Human Geography 2008-2012. Her research interests revolve around self-employment, entrepreneurship, ‘mumpreneurship’, gender, and work-life balance, with a specific interest in the phenomena of small-scale entrepreneurship carried out (and started up) within the context of family life, parenting and work-life balance. This research focuses on ‘mumpreneurs’, typically professional mothers who have made the decision to manage this work-life balance through small business start-up.

David Pickernell is Professor of Small Business and Enterprise Development at Portsmouth Business School, having previously been Professor of Economic Development Policy at the University of South Wales. He is also a visiting Professor at Coventry University and has also been an Adjunct Professor in the School of Management at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia. His publications cover topics related to small business, enterprise and economic development policy, and his current research interests revolve around enterprise, entrepreneurship, economic, clustering and the role of universities in innovation and enterprise. He has had over 80 articles published in refereed journals, given over 40 conference papers and had a number of chapters in edited books. He has also undertaken research and consultancy for a range of organisations, including the OECD, EU, Welsh Assembly Government, Queensland Government, Victorian Government (Australia), Welsh Development Agency, Cardiff Council, Council of Mortgage Lenders, Associated British Ports, Shaw Trust, Federation of Small Businesses and ColegauCymru. He also holds the Prince 2 Qualification and until very recently was external examiner for the PGC in Leadership at Cardiff Metropolitan University.



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