School of Business

Entrepreneurship and SMEs

The strength of the SME sector is often perceived as a barometer of a country's economic health.  Entrepreneurship and the health of family businesses are two related concerns because of the extent to which these two actors permeate the number of firms comprising the business base of a country’s economy.  Silicon Valley and the German Mittelstand are two famous examples of how entrepreneurs and family businesses can power economic growth.  However, rapidly changing market conditions (including those resulting from climate change and financial innovation) create opportunities and challenges for SMEs and entrepreneurs of all types.  Thus, we research on the impact of digital technologies on the development of entrepreneurship and SMEs’ access to capital, how businesses incorporate environmental and social responsibility in their models; how firms transition from agency models to stewardship models of management and governance; the impact of financial, social, governance, and sustainability innovations and regulations on their productivity, profitability and survival rates; and on how such circumstances create sustainable business practices that impact societal issues.

Examples of our engagement and contribution to practice and policy/regulatory debates

Mat Hughes’s research contributes to our understanding of how AI can benefit business growth and innovation, including articles at and

Mat was also interviewed as part of the Family Business Audiocast about family business succession, innovation, and compensation and has several articles offering practical advice to family business at  You can also follow his podcasts on entrepreneurship and SMEs freely at Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Audible including the following playlists:

Li Xiao is currently investigating how SMEs can handle recurring adversities along with Mat Hughes after his keynote talks on resilience for Family Business UK and the La Fabrique de L'Exportation Think Tank, Paris, France.


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