Research from the Entrepreneurship Centre

What kind of research do we do at the Entrepreneurship Centre?

The research undertaken by the Entrepreneurship Centre is a core part of achieving our mission to support the University of Cambridge’s entrepreneurial talent development and commercialisation of new ideas; and develop and share thought-leadership that establishes the University of Cambridge as a global knowledge locus for entrepreneurship.

High-impact research is being undertaken within the unconventional ‘laboratory’ that is the Centre enabling the study of entrepreneurship while it happens, growth as it emerges, to develop global knowledge. The start-up companies participating in our Accelerate Cambridge programme as well as the small to medium enterprise companies participating in the SME Growth Challenge present unique opportunities for studying different phases of entrepreneurial evolution and decision-making.

Activity at the Centre encompasses the full entrepreneurial journey – starting with the empowerment of aspiring entrepreneurs through to the creation and development of early-stage ventures, all the way to small and medium size enterprise growth. Given this remit, research at the Centre focuses on three core themes: awareness raising; value creation and industry engagement; and SME scale-up.

Our researchers

Stylianos (Stelios) Kavadias

Margaret Thatcher Professor of Enterprise Studies in Innovation & Growth


Matthew Grimes

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Futures

PhD (Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University)

Kostas Ladas

Research Associate

PhD (Northeastern University)

Our research projects

Research at the Entrepreneurship Centre is focused on 3 core themes – awareness raising, value creation and industry engagement and SME scale-up.

The Entrepreneurship Centre is a gateway to entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge ecosystem. Building on the teaching and research in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education conducted over the last 10 years, a number of new projects have been initiated which aim to investigate the antecedents of entrepreneurial activity.

Current projects

This project explores the impact of gender on entrepreneurship in the gaming industry. Despite substantial changes to the demographics of individuals playing games, the industry remains heavily male dominated. This project focuses on how gender impacts models of entrepreneurial activity in the industry while asking; to what extent does gender act as a social barrier to entrepreneurship?

Contact: Dr Monique Boddington

The Entrepreneurship Centre offers an unconventional ‘laboratory’ within which our team are able to undertake longitudinal studies into entrepreneurial evolution and decision making in order to gain insight into the key dynamics for entrepreneurial success.

The scaling-up of small businesses is a key focus area of the Entrepreneurship Centre which offers the Strategic Business Growth programme.

Current projects

Accelerate Cambridge nurtures early stage ventures from the initial venture creation, to launch and beyond. The EVER project is a longitudinal qualitative study of these ventures which aims to identify and understand patterns of strategic decision making. This research contributes to two types of outputs:

  1. Teaching case studies for use by the Centre and more widely by other departments at CJBS and the University of Cambridge.
  2. New theoretical insights into successful model of venture creation.

Contact: Dr Monique Boddington

This research studies the processes of entrepreneurial teams. The objective is to understand how team processes emerge and evolve during the startup phase of an entrepreneurial venture. This research aims to contribute to team literature by generating novel insights on the dynamics of team processes within the unique context of startup entrepreneurial teams. In addition to academic contributions, this study aims to generate actionable knowledge for both startup entrepreneurial teams and accelerators in developing programme structures that optimise team work in startup ventures.

Contact: Professor Andreas Richter

Past projects

Venture development organisations (eg accelerators and incubators) have proliferated in the startup ecosystem. Despite their attraction, often enough the impact of these cohort-based structured programmes is unclear. Pitch@Palace offers a good example of such organisations, which has managed to successfully attract considerable amount of attention from both business and startup communities and the media in the recent years. This research project explores the impact of Pitch@Palace on the entrepreneurial journey and the success of the participating startups.

The scaling-up of small businesses is a key focus area of the Entrepreneurship Centre which offers the Strategic Business Growth programme.

Past projects

The Centre recently contributed to a report, convened by Barclays, entitled “Scale-up UK: Growing Business, Growing Our Economy” which addresses the critical need to break down barriers to small business scaling-up and develop solutions to help UK companies grow and create more jobs.

The report draws on research from teams at Cambridge Judge Business School, which focused on fostering effective management and skill sets for sustained growth, and Oxford Saïd Business School, which examined the role of finance in scaling-up by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The report stemmed from discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos involving both universities and business groups about the need for more effective small business scale-up. Cambridge Judge Business School made six key recommendations for start-ups: have a commitment to grow; build a strong, broad management team; strike partnerships and other alliances; develop formalised systems to expand; identify and implement core competences; and use competitive strengths to spread into new markets for economies of scale.

Contact: Professor Stelios Kavadias

Read the Barclays Scale-up UK: Growing Business, Growing Our Economy report.

Absence of proper management system, ie the ways in which the CEO and other top management team members organise their managerial work at the helm of the company, is a major determinant of low productivity prevalent among SMEs. This project aims at exploring the potentials of digital business training to enhance managerial capability of SMEs in designing effective management system to boost their productivity output. The training combines academic educational rigour with best business practices to equip top managers of SMEs with right skills and capabilities to take their business to the next level. The programme offers limited opportunity for managers to join free of charge.