ISBE Conference Will Explore ‘Bordered Thinking’

08 Nov 2017 | 05.22 pm

ISBE Conference Will Explore ‘Bordered Thinking’

Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship event in Belfast on November 8/9

08 Nov 2017 | 05.22 pm

All roads lead to the Europa Hotel in Belfast in November if you’re an SME owner, for the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Conference, taking place on November 8 and 9.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the ISBE Conference is a big event in the entrepreneurial calendar. It will bring together more than 400 top academics, speakers and business leaders from over 40 countries, to engage and debate the issues relating to small business.

The ISBE is a network for people and organisations involved in small business and entrepreneurship research, policy, education, support and advice.

Headline sponsors for the international conference are Ulster University Business School (UUBS), Belfast City Council and the Federation for Small Business.

This year’s conference theme is ‘Borders, prosperity and entrepreneurial responses’. While influenced by the advent of Brexit and its possible impact on small businesses and entrepreneurial endeavour, conference organisers also suggest that the theme recognises that ‘bordered thinking’ can exist more widely in entrepreneurship research and practice.

The two-day event hosts 250 presentations, panel debates and specialist workshops, delivered by a strong calibre of researchers and specialists in entrepreneurship and small business practice over a diverse range of topics.

Keynote speakers at the opening plenary session on November 8 include Professor Neil Gibson, chief economist at EY (Ireland), and Professor Barbara Orser, Deloitte professor in the management of growth enterprises at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa (Canada).

Bordered Thinking

Commenting on this year’s conference theme, Pauric McGowan, ISBE president and a professor at Ulster University Business School, said that Brexit is only one example of ‘bordered thinking’ in business practice.

“Consider, for example, attitudes towards, and support for, those within minority communities in the UK who are keen to engage in entrepreneurial business venturing, or the efforts of women, striving to level the playing field in their business venturing efforts,” said McGowan.

“‘Bordered thinking’ exists, it seems, more widely than perhaps we realise or even perhaps want to acknowledge, with implications for policy and practice. With respect to Brexit, as it becomes a reality are we likely to see borders lowered or raised and ‘bordered thinking’ become the new norm again?”

Professor Barbara Orser will also address the theme of ‘bordered thinking’ in entrepreneurial policy and business practice. “Borders can divide or align. There is a need to consider, critically, the impacts of ‘cognitive borders’ and ‘ways of doing’ on enterprise growth, research and policy,” she said.

“As the founding chair of the Canadian Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth, I want to explore and share insights to the paradoxes of bordered thinking, and how small business researchers are playing leadership roles in dismantling borders while academic practices can often stifle cross-boundary initiatives.”

Actor James Nesbitt will give the keynote address at the annual awards ceremony and gala dinner on November 8. ISBE runs on November 8 and 9 at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. To register and for information on ticket prices, see here.


Photo: (L-R) Tony Wall, ISBE conference chair; Neil Gibson EY (Ireland) chief economist; Pauric McGowan, ISBE president

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