Brunel Business School awarded the Small Business Charter

Brunel Business School has become accredited with the Small Business Charter (SBC), joining another 33 business schools around the UK (and one in Dublin) identified as offering outstanding developmental support to small firms – ever more critical at this time of social and economic upheaval brought on through the Covid-19 emergency.

SBC logo

The SBC accreditation process consists of two elements. The first was a 45-page submission document which details evidence across a number of ‘dimensions’ on business engagement activities (mainly channelled through Brunel Hive and also the university-wide Co-Innovate scheme), teaching, research, and innovation and entrepreneurial support to students and practitioners. The second element was a visit to the School by the SBC assessment team, whose members combine academic business expertise in addition to business practitioner expertise. With the participation of academics, business support personnel from across the University, and a host of students, in addition to senior figures in trade bodies and business practitioners from the region that have benefitted from Brunel support, the assessment day allowed rigorous examination of all in these aspects ‘in the flesh’.

Small business accrediation

Across a number of sessions the different stakeholder groups were quizzed in depth by the assessors about their offerings and/or experiences, and whether it was academic, student or business practitioner responding, the SBC team could only deliver wholly positive feedback at the end of the day in the wrap-up session. One session was devoted to visiting facilities on campus and beyond, and after dipping into a workshop being run by the Entrepreneur Hub, one set of assessors headed off to Co-Innovate while the other went off to the CRL (Central Research Laboratory) in Hayes. One sign of the assessors’ engagement with what they were seeing (which included being hassled by an ambulant robot at the CRL) was not being able to prise them away to return for lunch on time!

When awarding the charter, the SBC noted how all the assessors commented they were left in “no doubt” as to Brunel’s institutional commitment to enterprise and SME development. So job well done, and a big thank you from the SBC accreditation team to all who contributed. Certainly the way in which all the participants pulled together on the day was impressive.

Entrepreneurs don’t really value entrepreneurship research? Is this true?

The recent BBC story about Zuru, a toy business based in Hong Kong but originating in New Zealand, is just one of a long list of media stories highlighting that entrepreneurs engage in experimentation and practice on their entrepreneurial journey. Many are not  ‘educated’ to be an entrepreneur, but do engage in self-learning for personal and business growth. In doing so, who and where do they get their information from? What role does entrepreneurial scholarship play? And what do they think about entrepreneurship scholars and scholarship in this regard?

 

First, it is worth noting that in questioning the role of entrepreneurship scholars and their engagement with practice, researchers acknowledge the impressive efforts of those in this community; indeed, the study of entrepreneurship is often informed by experiences of, or close interaction, with entrepreneurs/ship. Nevertheless, questions do remain about how valuable research is? How applicable is it? Do entrepreneurs have the time to expend on finding academic research, recognising its value to them and then applying it? And if they don’t, then whom are academics creating knowledge for? And why?

 

These are the kinds of question that Dr Ainurul Rosli, Reader in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Director of Business Engagement at Brunel Business School, and her co-author Dr Isla Kapasi, Lecturer in the Management Division and member of the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies, are seeking to explore. In the research project, ‘Entrepreneurship Scholars don’t know about Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs do’, supported by funding from ISBE, Dr Rosli and Dr Kapasi will be taking an engaged scholarship approach to answering such questions. To that end, they will work with nascent, new and established business owners to understand this pressing issue. Building on several initial pilot engagements, this research will be informed by the following questions:

  • What is the applicability and practicality of entrepreneurship knowledge for entrepreneurs?
  • And why do they think this is the case?

 

Dr Rosli and Dr Kapasi want to explore the ideological and practical aspects of any challenges/resistance (if any) experienced by entrepreneurs.

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Dr. Ainurul Rolsi and Dr. Isla Kapasi

The researchers said:

“On reflection, these are intimidating questions; perhaps we are trying to investigate something that has been hiding under a heavy rock (or that we willingly ignore?). We are unsure if we are able to get under this heavy rock, but it is our ambition to help enlighten and broaden the debate on how entrepreneurship scholars present themselves in different contexts/boundaries beyond academia and better understand the value of our research practice and contributions.

 

Furthermore, with the rise in the rejection of, or boredom with, ‘experts’ or ‘intellectuals’, we need to inspect our social usefulness, and how important that is ‘beyond the academy’. As individual entrepreneurship scholars, and in our roles as Co-Chair of the Practice and Impact SIG with ISBE, we position this research as a call to conversation within the entrepreneurship scholarly community and hope you will join us at the ISBE conference in November to further discuss these topics. In addition, we have plans for a critical examination of this topic for early Summer 2020 hosted by Brunel University. Join us!”

 

About the researchers:

Dr Ainurul Rosli is a Reader in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Director of Business Engagement at Brunel Business School. Her current research interests include: university-industry collaboration, engaged scholarship, social impact, community entrepreneurship, and team entrepreneurship.

 

Dr Isla Kapasi is a lecturer in the Management Division and member of the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies. Her current research interests include: critical entrepreneurship studies, entrepreneurship motivations, low-income enterprise, and engaged scholarship.

Dr Ainurul Rosli and Dr Sharifah Alwi research helps to strengthen rural community capacity in Borneo

This project, in collaboration with Dr Jane Chang of Gritse Community Interest Company, contributes towards strengthening the capacity for the community to support the local economic and social development agenda in Sabah.

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The researchers work with 14 rural smallholders of Ulu Sapi community, in Beluran Sabah, Borneo to help them increase their resilience and build the community brand through entrepreneurship. The Ulu Sapi community in Sandakan, Sabah has been struggling to survive due to the fluctuation of prices in palm oil, and the lack of economic development in the area.

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The rural smallholders learnt and defined the right and meaningful distinctiveness: of who they are – individually and collectively as entrepreneur(s), and what they stand for. Due to financial resources limitation, these rural, poor and less educated independent palm oil smallholders who rely on their community to survive, actually neglect the importance of branding, particularly their community.

 

On the 14th Feb, 2020, the researchers presented the results to a policy maker, the Honourable YB Assaffal P. Alian, Assistant Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Department.

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From left: Puan Rosnah, YB Assaffal P. Alian, Dr Rosli and Dr Alwi. Dr Chang was sitting
on the left with the audience. The assistant minister congratulates the researchers  and the Ulu Sapi villagers

 

In his speech, he expressed his gratitude to the team of researchers, and stated: “Whatever we are doing today with this project is correct and I will take this programme [project] and send our team from Sabah Tourism Board to come here [to Ulu Sapi] to evaluate for product update and do any plan on what we can do together to make this work. We are not supporting you, but working with you to take this forward to grow this place.”

 

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Left: Researchers site visit to brand the waterfall as part of the local community offerings
Right: Pak Jefri, feeding his school of fish, a project he developed while attending the programme

To know more about the project, visit: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Projects/Entrepreneurship-resilience-and-rural-community-branding

Meet our new colleagues: Dr Jingui Xie

Dr Jingui Xie is a Senior Lecturer in operations management. Before joining Brunel Business School, he was a visiting researcher in Cambridge Judge Business School. He specializes in healthcare operations management.

Jingui

His works have been published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, among others. He is an ad-hoc reviewer of many international journals. He is also a member of Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Meet our new colleagues: Dr Pavel Laczko

Dr Pavel Laczko joined us as a Lecturer in Digital Marketing.

 

Dr Laczko is an advocate and practitioner of the systems approach, and visual & design thinking in both organizations and classrooms. He specialises in phenomenon-driven longitudinal processual research in the domains of the digital economy and organizational change.

 

In addition to his teaching experience in Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship, New Product & Service Development, Pavel has also worked as a digital strategy consultant and advisor to early start-ups & SMEs.

Pavel

He joined Brunel after finishing his bursary-funded PhD in ‘Digital Innovation’ at Portsmouth Business School, UK.

 

Outside academia, Pavel’s interest spreads across several areas; he plays chess, and likes solving chess puzzles (…” the only sport that goes well with Islay whisky”); he specialises in Austro-Hungarian history (975-1918), and he is an amateur horticulturist, collecting and hybridising plants in Nepenthaceae genus. Since early childhood, Pavel has a passion for alpine mountaineering, every year, spending both summer and winter holidays in alpine zones around Europe

Government of Bangladesh show interest in Dr Bidit Dey’s work

The Government of Bangladesh has commended Dr Bidit Dey’s research findings on co-technology development in mobile telephone industry, and shown interest in applying it in their current and future policies in supporting the electric vehicle industry.

Bidit

Dr Dey has been extensively researching and publishing on co-creation in mobile telephone industry. His articles published on Technological Forecasting and Social Change and Information Systems Frontier drew significant interest amongst the policy makers in Bangladesh, who are keen to boost the electric vehicle industry as part of their strategy to reduce dependency on fossil fuel.

 

Bangladesh is already one of the world’s most energy-poor countries, and there is a large gap between power supply and demand. In rural areas, only 42% of the population have access to electricity, and the Government has been struggling to boost production. As Bangladesh is also among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, it has vowed to use 100% renewable energy by 2050. However, the country is off track to meet that target.

 

The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of the Government of Bangladesh is determined to change this. In this regard, Dr Dey’s research on ICTs and co-creation has strong potential to inform the implementation of policies in the energy sector. The State Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Mr Nosrul Hamid has expressed his keen interest to emulate the business ecosystem and co-technology development model suggested in Dr Dey’s published work.

 

More information about Dr Dey’s work, can be found here.

Meet our new colleagues: Dr Truong Van Nguyen

Dr Truong (Jimmy) Van Nguyen joined us as a lecturer in Operations and Information System Management.

 

His PhD thesis focuses on exploring the application of big data analytics to various areas of Supply Chain and Operations Management, including demand forecasting, inventory control, and closed-loop supply chain network optimisation. His research is the combination of different machine learning models with traditional OR techniques such as optimisation and simulation to develop data-driven decision makings.

 

Dr Van Nguyen has published in various international journals such as Computers & Operations Research, International Journal of Production Economics, etc.

Truong