Responsible Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation

iSPER's Responsible Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Themed Research Group (RESI) encompasses diverse strands of academic and applied responsible entrepreneurship and social innovation research. By addressing contemporary and emergent issues in entrepreneurship research it aims to impact on policy and practice, with a particular focus on three key areas:

  • Entrepreneurship education (in the adult and higher education landscape).
  • Entrepreneurship and social development (ethnic minority entrepreneurship, gender and entrepreneurship, lifestyle entrepreneurship, refugee entrepreneurship). 
  • Entrepreneurship and social innovation (creative entrepreneurship, entrepreneur displacement and resilience, social entrepreneurship). 

Please contact Haya Al-Dajani if you are interested in collaborating with RESI.

RESI Research Group Lead - Dr Haya Al-Dajani

Dr Haya Al-Dajani is Associate Professor (Reader) in Entrepreneurship and she also co-chairs the Gender and Enterprise Network (Special Interest Group) of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Her overall research aim is understanding the intersectionality of gender, entrepreneurship and empowerment, and their collective impact on sustainable development. She has secured over £1 million in research funding from EU, UK and other funding bodies, and is currently the Principal Investigator of two RCUK funded projects (see below).

Contact Haya and find out more about RESI.

RESI initiatives 

Creativity and Entrepreneurship Initiative
Led by Dr Marta Hawkins

The Creativity and Entrepreneurship Initiative involves interdisciplinary research across creative and cultural studies, social sciences and entrepreneurship studies. Marta has set up a network of researchers across six academic institutions in the UK, who apply creative methods in their disciplines. On that basis she will build a platform at iSPER for creative research of both entrepreneurship and creative enterprises in the UK and internationally.  

Ethnic Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement Initiative
Led by Dr Marta Hawkins

Marta is expanding her research on ethnic minorities firstly into the Devon region and then to other areas of the UK and other countries. Following the establishment of RESI, Marta will enhance the groundwork she has completed for collaboration between Plymouth and six universities located in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Poland, Lithuania, and Bulgaria. 

Entrepreneurship Studies Network Initiative
Led by Dr Andreas Walmsley

This initiative was set up to deliver international research projects in the area of entrepreneurship education (EE). Having worked with collaborators based in France, Spain, the USA and the UK Andreas is expanding these links into a global network of academics interested in EE to provide a vehicle for the development and dissemination of future research activity in this area.

Selected publications 

Al-Dajani, H., Carter, S., Shaw, E., and Marlow, S., (2015), "Entrepreneurship among the displaced and dispossessed: Exploring the limits of emancipatory entrepreneuring", British Journal of Management, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp.713-730

Newbery, R., Lean, J. and Moizer, J. (2016) "Evaluating the impact of serious games: The effect of gaming on entrepreneurial intent?". Information Technology & People. Vol. 29, No. 4, pp.733-749

Perkins, G., Lean, J. and Newbery, R. (2017) "The role of organisational vision in guiding idea generation within SME contexts", Creativity and Innovation Management, published online before print

Nabi, G., Walmsley, A., Liñan, F., Akhtar, I. and Neame, C. (2016) "Does entrepreneurship education in the first year of higher education develop entrepreneurial intentions? The role of learning and inspiration". Studies in Higher Education, published online before print

Tzokas, N., Kim, Y.A., Akbar, H. and Al-Dajani, H., (2015) "Absorptive capacity and performance: The role of customer relationship and technological capabilities in high-tech SMEs". Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 47, pp.134-142.

Nabi, G., Liñan, F., Fayolle, A., Krueger, N. and Walmsley, A. (2016) "The impact of entrepreneurship education in higher education: A systematic review and research agenda", Academy of Management Learning and Education, published online before print

Beaumont, E. and Brown, D. (2015) “'Once a local surfer, always a local surfer': An ethnography of local surfing careers in the South West of England". Leisure Sciences, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 68-86

Displaced Syrian Artisans in Jordan

Funding body: Global Challenges Research Fund contract from the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council 

Plymouth University Principal Investigator: Dr Haya Al-Dajani

This project will examine the impact of forced displacement on Syria’s traditional crafts and cultural heritage. The research team will study the industries that have survived among refugee communities forcibly displaced to Jordan. They will assess the ways in which male artisans have been forced to adapt in exile and will also develop training and advice programmes with the aim of enabling the development of sustainable social enterprises.

Read the press release

Find out more about the project.

Entrepreneurship in Sustainable International Development 

Research Team: Dr Robert Newbery and Dr Haya Al-Dajani

The promotion of entrepreneurship can play a major role in addressing such issues as poverty alleviation, food security and inequality. In recognition of this researchers based at the University’s Futures Entrepreneurship Centre have been working with partners in the UK, Kenya and Nigeria to use entrepreneurship as a tool for sustainable development. This work has led to improvements in well-being and food security for some 10,000 farming households and the establishment of 50 new micro-franchise shops.

Poverty Alleviation and Women Refugees in the Middle East: Empowerment through Grassroots Micro-Entrepreneurship? 

Funding body: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DfID)

Plymouth University Principal Investigator: Dr Haya Al-Dajani

This £394,841 project aims to explore the experiences of refugee Iraqi, Palestinian and Syrian women displaced to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, who are engaging in home-based micro-entrepreneurship activity. This involves a mixed methods strategy which engages stakeholders in the development and design of the methodology. Central to this approach is the direct participation of refugee women in each of the project’s three locations through the use of oral history interviews. Grounded in these rich testimonies, the findings from the project will subsequently be used to guide future policy and practice for newly arriving groups in these volatile regions.

Read more about the project

Exploring the Missing Perspective – Using the Student Perspective to Measure the Impact of Enterprise Education

Funding body: Enterprise Educators UK Research Project Fund

Research Team: Dr Emily Beaumont, Sarah Preedy and Sarah Stevenson

This study addressed a void in our understanding of the effectiveness and impact of enterprise education by considering the current student perspective of extra-curricular enterprise education. The aim was to underpin extra-curricular practice by exploring what entrepreneurial behaviours, competencies and capabilities students perceived they had gained and developed from their participation. This added context to data from higher education institutions suggesting that participation in extra-curricular activities is one way students can contribute to their own personal development and is an essential means of raising student awareness of enterprise.