The ESRC PrOPEL Hub’s key focus is to explore how high-quality, inclusive, and engaging people practices can drive productivity and performance in the workplace. However, microbusinesses face a number of challenges in their delivery of people management and sometimes current support fails to reflect the lived experience of running a small business.

CREME at Aston University and ESRC PrOPEL Hub joined forces on Wednesday 5 October 2022 to present the final session in our online series on the challenges and opportunities around supporting microenterprises.

Chaired by Professor Monder Ram, we were delighted to welcome more than 50 small business leaders, HR practitioners, people managers, and stakeholders from different research institutions and business support agencies, with a shared interest in understanding the challenges faced in the microbusiness ecosystem.

Top speakers for the workshop included:

  • Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School
  • Andrew Impey, CEO, Be the Business
  • Meryl Levington BA MA FRSA, Knowledge Exchange Manager, CIPD
  • Ian McLaughlan, Director at Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub
  • Graeme Roy, Professor of Economics and Dean of External Engagement, University of Glasgow
  • Damini Sharma, Founder and CEO, The OM Group
  • Claire Spencer AIEMA, Senior Programme Manager for Inclusive Growth, WM Combined Authority
  • Paula Whitehouse, Associate Dean for Enterprise at Aston Business School, and Director of the Aston Centre for Growth

The key discussion points of the online event involved: What is it like running a microbusiness from the ground? What people management issues do microbusinesses grapple with from day to day? The session workshopped solutions to issues around:

  • The people management challenges microenterprises face and how they are responding to these on a day-to-day basis
  • Gaps and opportunities in the current microbusiness support landscape.
  • Next steps needed to continue to drive forward the microbusiness support agenda.

The seminar was divided into four sessions. The sessions provided a flexible format in which practitioners, experts and academics interacted and highlighted key important challenges and opportunities to support microbusiness. Some interesting topics touched upon in the event were:

  • How to connect with the right agencies, support landscape and availability of funding.
  • What “works” and examples of good practice in supporting microbusinesses with people management. 
  • Developing a positive action framework for showing the impact of microbusinesses in the economy to influence policy.

If you could not participate in the event, we invite you to watch this remarkable session recorded here:

Photo by Leeloo Thefirst: