ISBE December Blog


Many thanks to all those who attended this year’s conference, the Institute’s 41st. We were delighted to welcome over 320 delegates to Birmingham, coming from 26 countries.

Prior to the conference itself, the Doctoral Day went very well, chaired by Paul Jones and Kayleigh Watson. Nearly 60 delegates had an opportunity to share their research via posters, to chat with other attendees and to hear from established experts in the entrepreneurship research field. Outputs from the day will be included in the developing strategy of ISBE’s Early Career Researcher Forum.

The theme of our conference was Collaboration in a Disparate World and our keynote speakers set the tone for the two days, talking about their own entrepreneurial journeys, small business policy and the dynamism of SME activity in Birmingham and the wider Midlands region. Many thanks to Sir Lenny Henry (Birmingham City University Chancellor), Rosie Ginday (Miss Macaroon), Stephen Roper (Warwick Business School & Enterprise Research Centre), Richard Evans (Mechatronic Ltd) and Mike Wright (Jaguar Land Rover & Automotive Investment Organisation. Thanks also to Kiran Trehan, Deputy President at ISBE, for chairing both the opening and closing sessions.

If you weren’t able to attend this year, you can find the livestream recording of the opening keynote session on our YouTube channel.

Over 230 papers were presented during the conference and feedback from our amazing team of Track Chairs indicates that the quality continues to rise year-on-year. In addition to our established tracks, we were also proud to launch our new track in Freelancing, Solo-Self Employment & Gig Economy, in partnership with the CRSE, Centre for Research on Self-Employment.

There were ample opportunities to network during lunch and the breaks, and we are particularly grateful to our Special Interest Groups for convening a wide range of meetings, events and workshops during the lunch breaks. The SIGs are at the centre of everything that ISBE does – if you haven’t yet joined any, please find more information on the ISBE website.

The Gala Dinner & Annual Awards Ceremony was held at the Macdonald Burlington hotel. Many congratulations to all those winners and nominees for this year’s ISBE awards. You can find the video of the Awards Ceremony on the ISBE YouTube channel. We are especially delighted to award this year’s ISBE Fellowship to Monder Ram.

After another busy day’s parallel sessions, we were pleased to close the conference with an interesting panel focusing on the competitiveness of the UK’s SMEs in an increasingly turbulent world. Many thanks to David Hardman (Innovation Birmingham), Janette Pallas (University of Warwick Science Park), Jonathan Potter (OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities) and Pam Waddell (Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands) for their insight and important contribution in making another successful conference.

We are grateful to our exhibitorsand sponsors, without whose support we couldn’t provide such a successful conference. Please get in touch with them.

Finally, many thanks to Mark Gilman, this year’s Conference Chair, for providing such a warm welcome to the city.

Plans are already underway for next year’s conference in Newcastle, and we look forward to welcoming you to what promises to be a fantastic event. For more information, visit

The official ISBE 2018 video is now available at

Rob Edwards
ISBE Head of Business Development and Marketing


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