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Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research

Explore our research in small business and entrepreneurship

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 one 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.

Our research is regularly published in academic journals including the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, Annals of Operations Research, Small Business Economics, International Journal of Small Business Research, and the International Review of Administrative Sciences.

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.

Innovation Management

We're looking into how organisations in low technology and process industries can optimise the management of their product and process development.

entrepreneur talking about innovation
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Sustainability and Business

We're identifying how businesses can embed sustainability practices to contribute to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A birds eye view of a circle of houses surrounding a cluster of trees
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Risk and security management

We're helping organisations and individuals think of alternative ways of identifying, understanding and overcoming risk and security challenges.

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Research groups

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

Our members

Vijay Vyas Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Vijay Vyas

Senior Lecturer

Portsmouth Business School

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

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Zoe Dorothea Hadgley Dann Portrait

Dr Zoe Dann

Associate Dean (Students)

Portsmouth Business School

Faculty of Business and Law

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Sercan Ozcan Portrait

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Professor Sercan Ozcan

Professor of Innovation and Technology Management

Associate Head (Research and Innovation)

School of Strategy, Marketing, and Innovation

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

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Interested in a PhD in Business & Management?

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