Business and Entrepreneurship Research Group

Our Research and Knowledge exchange activities are supporting entrepreneurship, farm development and small business growth within the rural economy. The aim of the group is to be an exemplar establishment in furthering the knowledge base for the development of the rural economy.

We create knowledge that changes businesses and lives in the rural economy.

The group’s research findings provide actionable outcomes for developing regional economies, with focus on the rural economy. These are especially relevant for businesses, entrepreneurs, policy makers and business support professionals.

There is a global need to develop longitudinal and in-depth research into rural entrepreneurship, covering the core themes of entrepreneurial learning and enterprise education, starting a new venture, growing a business and agricultural innovation clusters.

Our academic research and knowledge exchange link researchers and professionals with industry and society. These activities support our learning and teaching offer through current research on entrepreneurship, leadership and strategic management and knowledge exchange services to the rural and urban economy.

The knowledge exchange activities link industry and rural businesses with academic theory and our teaching activities. Our staff collaborate across academic a range of subjects, with partner organisations (Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, British Academy of Management) and international universities in Europe, India and China.

Our research and knowledge exchange activities are led by Dr Inge Hill who is internationally recognised for her entrepreneurship research, which is informed by practice theory (see

Examples of some of the research projects and activities we are currently running:

  • The National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) research project aims to realise a step change in innovation and unlock potential in the UK’s rural economies. The RAU is part of the researcher consortium and collaborates closely with Gloucester University’s CCRI centre, Warwick University Business School and Newcastle University
  • Impact Assessment Tools for Enterprise Educators – this research project in collaboration with the universities of Buckingham, Birmingham and Derby aims to gather data for designing an online tool to support educators in facilitating longitudinal assessments of the impact of their courses on entrepreneurial skills and attitudes
  • Artisan entrepreneurs in the UK – investigating craft and artisan entrepreneurs in urban centres
  • The farming and food production transition programme is a collaborative initiative led by the Gloucestershire team of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West (FWAG SW) working with a range of key local partners
  • The school runs a series of open webinars with entrepreneurs, business owners and researchers  to disseminate our research findings for the wider public
  • Research seminars with external experts from the wider global community of researchers discuss latest developments in research theory and method development

All of our staff in the School of Business and Entrepreneurship are engaged either in knowledge exchange activities or academic research or both and support civil society in many ways: chairing of sitting of boards of regional and national non-profit boards and professional associations. Our research themes have been developed to help establish and develop research discussions and support for research students. These themes cover a range of contemporary rural enterprise issues, which are supported through research funding and publications.

  • Venture creation and start up
  • Business growth and scaling, farm diversification
  • Rural ecosystem, finance and economy
  • Entrepreneurship education
  • Creative industry and technology entrepreneurship
  • Food industry research, agricultural innovation and technology
  • Changing consumption patterns

Our enterprise activities and consultancy services offer leadership and business training to senior business leaders and entrepreneurs. Through Farm491 the RAU offers business support services, with a team of four professionals.

Our business and entrepreneurship research group seek to develop a strong base of research students, to support its research capacity and output and develop the next generation of informed rural entrepreneurship researchers. Research students are supported through monthly research meetings, regular group research presentations to Master’s, PhD students and staff and events connecting researchers to entrepreneurs and industry.

Our staff are currently supervising the current PhDs:

  • The effect of improved track and tracing transparency on the living income of Ivorian farmers along the cocoa value chain
  • Research exploring the level of wealth created in Nigerian (Delta State) through social protection of educated youths and adding value to agribusinesses
  • Market price integration and asymmetric adjustments in sugar markets. This research project will analyze the market price integration and asymmetric adjustments in international sugar markets within the framework of price transmission models
  • How entrepreneurial processes can shape family businesses - an interpretive framework for multi voice narrative data
  • The impact of entrepreneurship education on shaping the entrepreneurial attitude of students in emerging markets: An assessment of the Nigerian case
  • Communities in venture funding: Impacts of structural embeddedness on long term success of equity crowdfunded firms and the role of Blockchain as a trust machine
  • The effect of the UK Government’s “modernising” changes to the disabled students’ allowance on the provision of support to HE students with specific learning difficulties

The RAU greatly values knowledge exchanges: our research findings are disseminated through our excellent connections with local, national and international rural entrepreneur groups, policy makers and rural advocacy organisations. We also encourage all our research students to publish widely and take part in relevant subject specialist conferences. 

For further information and to discuss further opportunities please contact Inge Hill to explore how we can support you in your research or business.

We offer the following research degrees: