Professor Eleanor Shaw is globally recognised for her research on the resources needed to establish and grow entrepreneurial ventures. Her research identified the unequal access to entrepreneurial resources experienced by under-represented founders, including female entrepreneurs; revealed the long term, detrimental impact of this under-capitalisation on the growth of their firms; and highlighted the loss of GDP and job creation experienced by the UK economy as a consequence. As an engaged researcher, Eleanor has dedicated her career to producing high quality research that is: funded by prestigious research councils (more than £6M); published in globally leading journals; used to inform innovations in impactful entrepreneurial education; and to advise on entrepreneurial policies and interventions.
Her research informed the UK Government’s Enterprise Strategy (2008) and the subsequent introduction of a £12.5million capital co-investment fund for women (Aspire Co-Investment Fund, 2009). In a further study, her research provided evidence for the Women’s Enterprise Taskforce (2007- 2009), set up by HM Treasury & BIS to advise on supporting growth-oriented women-led UK ventures. The impact of this research is detailed in a Case Study submitted to the 2014 UK Government Research Excellence Framework (REF). Eleanor’s research has continued to inform the framing of enterprise policy and has informed the independent review of women’s enterprise in Scotland (Pathways, February, 2023), the Rose Review, and The Gender Index (TGI).
Her research informed the design and delivery of the Growth Advantage Programme (GAP) – a practise-focused enterprise education programme which develops the leadership capacity of founders, supporting the scale-up of their ventures. Since 2015, under her leadership, GAP has supported 6 cohorts of 93 founders to successfully scale their firms, and GAP has been endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute as the only Scottish, and only one of two growth programmes offered by a UK university. Details of the research underpinning GAP and its impact on the broader Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem are captured in the ImpactCaseStudy submitted to REF (2021). In 2019 Eleanor initiated the development of the only institution-wide entrepreneurship strategy of any Scottish University and one of a handful of UK Higher Education Institutions. Branded as Strathclyde Inspire, the cornerstones of this strategy are to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of students and staff through exposure to entrepreneurial learning experiences, and entrepreneurial role models, and crucially for academic researchers, to support the commercialisation of their innovations. Since its launch, Inspire has annually doubled the number of spinouts and licenses, invested in more than 22 new ventures, and is currently supporting 118 early-stage innovation-driven ventures.
In addition to her work with the ScaleUp of Institute and The Gender Index, Eleanor is an elected member of the Chartered Association of Business School’s Council and sits on the Board of the Small Business Charter. She led the analysis undertaken for the recent Stewart Review (Scottish Government’s Independent Analysis of Women’s underrepresentation in Business Ownership) and informed the recommendations set out in this. Eleanor has had a long-term affiliation with ISBE and since the late 1990s has served on the ISBE board and established and contributed to a number of its Special Interest Groups.
Eleanor also has a long-established record of engagement in voluntary service, with current board positions in the Beatson Cancer Charity and Enable and previous positions at Impact Arts and Glasgow Women’s Aid, all passionate areas of interest.
Across her career Eleanor has mentored, advocated for, supported and amplified female leadership within the HE sector and beyond. For example, she was integral to implementing the Strathclyde Leading Forward lecture series in 2019, in collaboration with the Royal Bank of Scotland, using her passion for diversity and achieving equity for women entrepreneurs and leaders to make the lecture series a success. As the most senior female academic on the University of Strathclyde’s Executive Team, she has evidenced the respect of her peers and become a role model in the field, in part due to her pragmatic and upbeat but principled and impactful leadership style. Eleanor very recently was appointed (August 2023) Dean of the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, a position that makes her the first ever female Dean of the School.