Event Summary: Levelling Up: Managing People in Microbusinesses in a Changing World

On Wednesday 5 October 2022, Aston University in Birmingham hosted a highly anticipated in-person seminar organised by CREME and ESRC PrOPEL Hub. The event, titled “Levelling Up: Managing People in Microbusinesses in a Changing World,” brought together key stakeholders within the microbusiness ecosystem for an engaging and interactive session.

The seminar aimed to explore how high-quality, inclusive, and engaging people practices can drive productivity and performance within microbusinesses. Despite the critical role of people management in these businesses, current support interventions often fail to reflect the lived experiences of running a small business. To address this gap, the ESRC PrOPEL Hub partnered with the Centre for Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship to run a “Spotlight on Microbusinesses” event series, culminating in this final session.

Throughout the seminar, participants engaged in two workshop-style sessions designed to:

  • Discuss the day-to-day people management challenges faced by microbusinesses.
  • Identify gaps and opportunities in the current support landscape for microbusinesses.
  • Determine the next steps to continue advancing this agenda.

The event featured notable speakers, including:

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

The seminar provided an excellent platform for microbusiness owners, researchers, and service providers to share their experiences, brainstorm solutions, and contribute to the development of a multi-stakeholder, positive framework for change. Attendees had the opportunity to expand their networks and collaborate on initiatives to enhance the support and success of microbusinesses in the UK.