Strategy, Enterprise and Innovation

Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Research Group (SEED)

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research Group provides a platform for interdisciplinary and collaborative research in areas related to small business, entrepreneurship and enterprise development. We undertake, support and disseminate research that contributes to advancing small business and entrepreneurship in the UK and internationally. By facilitating links between academia, business and the public sector we also contribute to the thriving regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The research group is led by Prof David Pickernell and Prof Martina Battisti and consists of a number of active researchers from across the university as well as postgraduate students. We also have strong relationships with researchers and institutions nationally as well internationally.

Our research explores a variety of aspects related to entrepreneurship, enterprise and small business development, often in international contexts. Key areas of expertise and interest include:

  • Entrepreneurial behaviour, cognitions and emotions
  • Capabilities, learning and enterprise education
  • Performance, growth and economic and social value creation
  • Risk and Resilience Issues and Strategies for SMEs in turbulent economic times
  • Innovation and internationalisation
  • Social innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Policy and public support programmes including accelerators, incubators, regional economic growth programs
  • Concepts of the Entrepreneurial and Enterprising University
  • Startups and nascent entrepreneurship
  • Female entrepreneurship

As a holder of the Small Business Charter silver award, Portsmouth Business School (PBS) is one of a small number of what the Small Business Charter describes as world-class business schools across the UK to have demonstrated their ability and promise to help grow business. As part of the award, PBS made a commitment to support small business growth and engage with stakeholders in the growth agenda. The research group actively supports the award through its engagement and disseminations activities.

As a member of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE), we are part of aninternational network that offers vast reserves of knowledge and research to inform change and create positive impact for small business and entrepreneurship.

Current research projects

Resilient SMEs in turbulent economic times – A capability perspective

In today’s world, deep uncertainty is an ever present for businesses. Regional economic resilience has therefore become a much debated concept in regional studies, particularly in terms of understanding how local and regional economies are affected by increasingly turbulent economic. The theoretical and empirical study of regional economic resilience has lacked sufficient evaluation of the role of human agency. The aim of this project is to establish a longitudinal, mixed-methods research program that explores the effects of turbulent economic environments on small businesses, their adaptive strategies and entrepreneurial behaviours and the resultant impact on firm performance. This also includes, crucially, analysis of the role(s) of universities in supporting such capabilities and acting as catalysts towards the development of more resilient entrepreneurial ecosystems.

As a research group we organise a bi-annual roundtable discussion as well as contributing regular seminars to the SEI research seminar series, some of which can be found here.

We also provide a supportive and stimulating environment for postgraduate studies and welcome applications from prospective PhD students. We offer a range of self-funded PhD opportunities that are closely aligned with the expertise of the research group. Current topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • The role of the enterprising University for resilient SME growth
  • The role of dynamic capabilities in building resilient SMEs
  • The role of opportunities in social entrepreneurship and social innovation
  • The role of incubators, accelerators and other ecosystem partners for startups and nascent entrepreneurs


Prof Martina Battisti

Dr Adam Cox

Dr Carol Ekinsmyth

Dr Thang Nguyen

Prof David Pickernell

Dr Vijay Vyas

Dr Xiaoti Wu

PhD students

Mr Jamie Howard

Mr Jahangir Wasim

Visiting fellows

Dr Tanya Jurado, Massey University, New Zealand

Dr Julienne Senyard, Griffith University, Australia