Title: Absent or overlooked? Promoting diversity among entrepreneurs with public support needs

Authors: Beldina Owalla; Tim Vorley; Tom Coogan; Helen Lawton Smith; Katy Wing

Addresses: Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), Sheffield University Management School, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK ' Oxford Brookes Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 0BP, UK ' Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Nottingham University Business School, Wollaton Rd, Nottingham NG8 1BB, UK ' Department of Management, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX, UK ' Research & Enterprise Office, Loughborough University, Hazelrigg Building, Epinal Way, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: Despite the widely recognised importance of diversity for business performance, knowledge concerning the support needs of under-represented groups is still limited. We adopt an intersectional approach to analyse the challenges and support needs of ethnic minority entrepreneurs, and those with disabilities, to participate in entrepreneurial activity in the UK. Our qualitative data is based on focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that engagement in entrepreneurship is influenced not just by minority status, but by the specific relations to other socio-demographic categories within which that status is embedded. Intersectional counter-frames form part of the strategies utilised by individuals to gain access to otherwise limited resources. We develop a conceptual model for promoting greater equality, diversity and inclusion, within an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and recommend a more holistic approach to realising inclusive economic growth. This includes adopting a hybrid/blended approach that combines targeted programs with the development of mainstream support programs.

Keywords: equality; EDI; diversity and inclusion; intersectionality; counter-frames; policy initiatives; entrepreneurial ecosystem.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2021.116841

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2021 Vol.13 No.3, pp.231 - 261

Received: 19 Dec 2019
Accepted: 09 Oct 2020

Published online: 25 Jul 2021 *

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