Empirical evidence suggests there is under-representation and under-utilisation of disabled and BAME entrepreneurs in business innovation – "missing entrepreneurs" (OECD 2017). European cohesion policy is hampered by a lack of evidence on how the networks that support BAME and disabled entrepreneurs act and/or succeed. This has consequences for a societally inclusive and geographically fair economic recovery post-pandemic. The four speakers' evidence and insights will inform policymaking and practice.
The session is based on engaged scholarship which involves sustained and continuous interaction between researchers and practitioners (Ram et al., 2012). The session's key features will be a presentation of new research findings, contributions from three practitioners (one policymaker, two entrepreneurs) and interaction with the audience. Helen Lawton Smith will present findings from her Regional Studies Association-funded research on Addressing regional inequalities in innovation opportunities for BAME and disabled groups (2020-21). Interviews with support networks, entrepreneurs and policymakers show considerable regional differences. The research compares the UK with international experiences and best practice, including from mainland Europe, the USA and Canada. The speakers and the moderator are directly involved in this area and in policymaking.
These features will form the basis of interactions with the non-academic audience. The session will promote knowledge exchange and demonstrate the impact of the research.