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  • Room 103, Mast House, 24 Sutton Rd, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ

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Responsible entrepreneurship presents a significant step in the right direction for community empowerment. 

As such, this event embraced this theme by creating the space and opportunity for Plymouth’s refugees and asylum seekers to come together with students and staff from the University as well as local business owners, and other members of the general public, to collectively brainstorm, design and ignite team-led responsible enterprises that aim to foster community empowerment. 

The event included knowledge exchange through a series of presentations on the social sciences, responsible entrepreneurship, and locally available enterprise support services. 

This was followed by a creative and practical facilitated workshop, and pitching to a panel of experts.

Each team comprised a mix of 8-10 participants, and was composed at the beginning of the workshop session, based on the participants’ interests, skills, and residence neighbourhood. 

The workshop was designed to enhance community empowerment through responsible entrepreneurship, contributing to improving social cohesion and tolerance, alleviating poverty, unemployment and social marginalisation in Plymouth. 

Details of the organising team are below.

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Biography: Haya Al-Dajani

Dr Haya Al-Dajani is an Associate Professor (Reader) in Entrepreneurship and Chair of the Responsible Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Group (RESI). 

Her overall research aim is the understanding of the intersectionality of entrepreneurship, empowerment and gender, and their collective impact on economic and social development, especially for forcibly displaced persons. Haya’s current research includes two ESRC grants focusing on refugees and entrepreneurship in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. 

She co-chairs the University of Plymouth's Women’s Network and the Gender and Enterprise Network – a special interest group of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Dr Haya Al-Dajani

Biography: Doaa Althalathini

Doaa Althalathini is a Doctoral Scholar researching the interrelationship between gender, resilience and entrepreneurship in conflict-affected zones. 

Prior to her doctoral studies, she obtained her MSc in Poverty and Development at Sussex University’s prestigious Institute of Development Studies, and has worked in the Gaza Strip – Palestine, on development programmes focusing on economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation.

Doaa Althalathini

Biography: Nikolaos Apostolopoulos

Dr Nikolaos Apostolopoulos is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and the Programme Leader for the MSc Entrepreneurship and MSc Entrepreneurship and International Development Programmes. 

His research focuses on entrepreneurship and sustainability, and he has participated in ten funded initiatives of the EU Structural Funds. 

Nikolaos is also a Scientific Adviser at the Labour Institute (INE-GSEE) in Greece and Adviser in Entrepreneurship and Employability at the Social Rehabilitation Centre “Amaltheia”.

Dr Nikolaos Apostolopoulos

Biography: Hoayda Darkal

Hoayda Darkal is a Research Assistant on the Syrian Artisans Enteprise Project, funded by the GCRF ESRC AHRC. 

She is also a Doctoral Scholar in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Plymouth, and her research focuses on the resilience of Syrian Refugees in adapting to their new lives in the UK. 

Hoayda has a ResM in Human Geography and a BSc in Agricultural Engineering. Her research interests bring together a number of fields including household economics, childcare, and family to resilience, migration, and Arab refugees. Hoayda uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods in her work.

Hoayda Darkal

Biography: Penny Hele

Penny Hele is Inspiring Futures Project Officer at the University and in this role, she makes a difference to individuals and the community by helping businesses and students develop through Inspiring Futures consultancy projects. 

Now in its sixth year, Inspiring Futures has grown to include over 3,500 students undertaking over 600 projects for over 250 organisations including businesses, social enterprises and charities of all sizes from pre-start-ups to large enterprises. 

Students develop their entrepreneurial and employability skills and in turn, the organisation benefits from free business advice from a team of talented students. Penny holds a BSc (Hons) in Social Sciences focused in Social Psychology, Sociology and Environmental Issues.

Penelope Hele

Biography: Amber Strong

In her role as Student Entrepreneurship Assistant at the University’s Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, Amber supports student development through the BETA Enterprise programme. 

Amber is also a student on the MSc Entrepreneurship and International Development programme. 

She is an International Relations graduate and Social Enterprise enthusiast. 

Amber Strong

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