ISBE Fellow, Professor Monder Ram from Aston University, has won the ESRC Impact Prize for Business and Enterprise this year for his team’s work on inclusion of minority entrepreneurs during the pandemic.
Productivity from Below is an ESRC-funded collaboration between researchers (led by Prof Monder and Dr. Imelda McCarthy), business and civil society partners. It has enhanced productivity among ethnic minority microbusinesses, ensured they accessed the right funding and support during the pandemic.
It has helped organisations like Ashley Community Housing, Punch Records, and Citizens UK secure as a combined value over £3 million of funding to support more than 1,000 female and migrant entrepreneurs.
Productivity from Below (PfB) has:
■ Shaped successful bids for major project funding using PfB design principles: Pathways to Enterprising Futures (PEF), a £1-million initiative to support 600 women into employment or self-employment in Birmingham; and the Migrant Business Support project (worth £1 million) to provide business support to 500 migrant-owned businesses in Bristol and the West Midlands.
■ Supported Bangladeshi caterers to use social media as a new business model to increase takeaway trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.
■ Established a peer support and leadership development programme, ‘The P Word’, providing urgent commercial guidance to microbusinesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
■ Provided support and peer-to-peer learning to help local retailers and community groups improve their business practices and to access UK Government COVID -19 emergency funding through the launch of a Business Leaders Group (BLG), providing a monthly forum for more than 25 members. The innovation foundation NESTA identified the BLG as an example of ‘grassroots innovation’.
■ Built the future capacity of practitioner partners and participating firms to support local businesses through £500,000 of additional funding for four PhD students to research the implementation of PfB initiatives.