11 Charles Street
London, W1J 5DW

May 7, 2014 09:00 - May 7, 2014 12:00

Most businesses start small. Most also stay small, but some driven by ambitious micro-entrepreneurs grow rapidly. What shapes individuals’ growth ambitions? How do family and household factors influence ambition and micro-enterprise growth?

What other drivers might enhance growth at this level?

Finance too is crucial if micro-enterprises are to grow. What are the real barriers to accessing finance? Do we need greater product innovation to meet changing finance needs of micro start-ups? This roundtable organised jointly by the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) and Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) aims to explore these issues as a prelude to a more in-depth research study.

Speakers from each organisation will summarize the latest research and policy developments. As part of the workshop we are also keen to hear perspectives from micro-entrepreneurs themselves, those involved in supporting micro-businesses and the research community.


Sara Carter

Associate Director

Sara is Deputy Principal at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde University. At the ERC Sara leads the research on under represented groups in enterprise. Her research focuses extensively on entrepreneurship policy, gender, entrepreneurship and finance; and rewards and lifestyles within the entrepreneurial household.

Stephen Roper

Director - ERC

Stephen Roper is Professor of Enterprise at Warwick Business School, Director of the Enterprise Research Centre - ERC (www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk) and Co-Director of the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE)

Samuel Mwaura

Research Fellow, Strathclyde University

Samuel works with Professor Sara Carter at the Hunter Centre at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests include Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Firm Performance.

Karen Bonner

Lecturer in Entrepreneurship. Queens University , Belfast

Karen is a Lecturer in entrepreneurship at Queens University, Belfast and also works with the ERC to provide support to the Demography and Innovation research themes. She is involved primarily in firm-level research utilising data to examine aspects of firm performance in both Northern Ireland and the UK. Recent projects include those for Invest NI, Forfás, BIS, DETI, Scottish Enterprise and UKTI. Previously she worked as a Senior Research Economist at the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (formerly the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre).

Ben Hughes

Chief Executive

Since joining the CDFA in 2011, Ben has played a pivotal role in bringing community finance to the attention of policy makers, investors and thought leaders. Ben has secured over £72m of funding for members to lend to small, micro and social enterprises, has initiated a landmark bank to CDFI referral scheme, helped to establish a performance framework for the sector and was a key player in the formation of the Community Investment Coalition, a new national partnership focused on campaigning for fair finance.

Before joining the CDFA, Ben gained over twenty years of experience in the community sector, managing an advice agency and becoming CEO of the social action membership network, Bassac.

Jonathan Girling

Operations Director, East London Small Business Centre