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Small business and entrepreneurship research

Explore our research in small business and entrepreneurship, 1 of our areas of expertise in Business and Management


Our small business and entrepreneurship research looks at how entrepreneurial behaviours, capabilities, strategies and public policies affect the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem – the social and economic environment that determines whether entrepreneurship can develop and thrive.

Uncertainty in innovation-driven economies makes it increasingly important to promote small businesses and entrepreneurial activity. These economies are the most highly developed so further development must come from new ideas. Our research helps organisations, individuals and policymakers understand the conditions and strategies needed to create resilient entrepreneurial ecosystems focused on achieving SMEs that are successful in the long term.

We research the entrepreneurial behaviours focused on opportunity and threat identification, and choice over which opportunities to pursue. We look at the skills and resources then needed to pursue such entrepreneurial opportunities and how they might be implemented. We also explore government initiatives that create opportunities, resources and behaviours such as training and degree apprenticeships.

Much of our research is conducted in the Portsmouth Business School (PBS). PBS is a holder of the Small Business Charter award and is 1 of a small number of world-class business schools in the UK that have demonstrated the ability to help businesses grow. 

We have substantial links with UK and international universities and business organisations, and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) funded our research with Women’s Enterprise Scotland to discover the importance of female-owned businesses to the UK economy. The outcomes from this research are being used to lobby for greater government support for female entrepreneurship. We also received funding from the European Union to explore female entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas around the English Channel and coastal regions of northern France.

ColegauCymru, a charity raising the profile of further education in Wales, funded our research into training provision in retail tourism hospitality in Wales. The charity will use the results from our research to lobby the Welsh government for funding for training for tourism industry workers.

Our research is regularly published in academic journals including the British Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, the Journal of Business Research, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, and the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Entrepreneurial behaviour, cognitions and emotions
  • Capabilities, learning and enterprise education
  • Performance, growth and value creation
  • Risk and resilience issues for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Social innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Female entrepreneurship
  • Policy and public support programmes including accelerators, incubators and regional economic growth programs
  • Concepts of the Entrepreneurial and Enterprising University
  • Start-up and nascent entrepreneurship


We use quantitative research methods including traditional regression and quantitative indexing, Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (FsQCA) and Multi Sectoral Qualitative Analysis to measure causal effects. 

Our research informs our undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, including BA (Hons) Business and ManagementBA (Hons) Business Management and EntrepreneurshipMSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, and MBA Strategic Leadership.

Publication highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

Small business and entrepreneurship is 1 of 4 areas of expertise within the Business and Management research area. Explore the others below.

Research groups

We're researching how entrepreneurial behaviours, capabilities, strategies, and public policies affect the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem and economy.

Our members

Image of Professor David Grant Pickernell

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Professor David Grant Pickernell

  • Job Title Professor
  • Email Address david.pickernell@port.ac.uk
  • Department Strategy Enterprise and Innovation
  • Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Vijay Vyas

Dr Vijay Vyas

Image of Dr Sercan Ozcan

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Dr Sercan Ozcan

  • Job Title Reader
  • Email Address sercan.ozcan@port.ac.uk
  • Department Strategy Enterprise and Innovation
  • Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Shuangfa Huang

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Dr Shuangfa Huang

  • Job Title Research Fellow
  • Email Address shuangfa.huang1@port.ac.uk
  • Department Strategy Enterprise and Innovation
  • Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Zoe Dann

Dr Zoe Dann

  • Job Title Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law
  • Email Address Zoe.Dann@port.ac.uk
  • Department Strategy Enterprise and Innovation
  • Faculty Faculty of Business and Law

Interested in a PhD in Business & Management?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Business & Management postgraduate research degrees page.


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