Julia Rouse

Principal Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, MMU Business School

Julia's research investigates entrepreneurship as a route of social mobility. She is the founder and Co-Chair of the Gender and Enterprise Network (GEN), an international community of more than 400 stakeholders interested in advancing and employing scholarship on women’s enterprise and the gendering of entrepreneurship.

Contact Details

Email:[email protected]

Research Themes

  • Business Growth
  • Diversity
  • Entrepreneurship


Dr Julia Rouse is a Principal Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at MMU Business School. She  is the founder and Co-Chair of the Gender and Enterprise Network (GEN), an international community of more than 400 stakeholders interested in advancing and employing scholarship on women’s enterprise and the gendering of entrepreneurship.  GEN is a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

For more than ten years Julia has been investigating entrepreneurship as a route of social mobility. This began with two longitudinal studies of business start-up programmes employing both qualitative and quantitative methods. Her current research is specifically focused on how entrepreneurship is embedded in socially governed life courses. She has extended our understanding of entrepreneurship as embedded in family life courses by publishing on the childcare barrier to entrepreneurship and the relationship between entrepreneur motivations, life courses and performance. She is currently developing publications from a longitudinal study of entrepreneur maternity experiences (sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust) and longitudinal modelling of life courses pathways to business start-up and entrepreneur earnings employing the British Household Panel Survey (sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council).

Julia really enjoys developing researchers and promoting knowledge exchange. Hence, she is having great fun facilitating a dozen subject clusters in her role as Director of the Centre for Business Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. She supervises doctorates in the areas of gender and enterprise, business incubation, small firm capability to engage in public procurement and small business advice. She sits on various government, local and third sector advisory groups.

Research Report

Covid19: Critique and Proposals to Develop More Comprehensive and Inclusive Support for the SelfEmployed

The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised the self-employed they are ‘not forgotten’ and claimed that his headline programme – the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – will protect 95% of those for whom self-employment is a main job. However, the policy excludes start-ups and, in an initial critique, we called for businesses without a 201819 Self-Assessment record (new businesses or those that did not become profitable until after April 6 2019) to have a chance to do their 2019-20 assessment early from April 6th 2020 for one month. This would then make them eligible for an SEISS payment in June 2020.
We also analysed Covid19 support for the self-employed in Germany and Denmark and found more comprehensive packages, supporting business costs and not just selfemployed income.

Following further discussion and analysis, this document outlines in detail the support for income losses and business losses or cash flow problems available to four categories of self-employed worker under UK Covid19 policy: the established self-employed for whom self-employment is a main job; the new(ish) self-employed for whom self-employment is a main job; the self-employed as a second job, and; the established self-employed who grew their businesses so self-employment became their main job in 2019-20. See Tables 1-4 below. We estimate that nearly I in 5 of the self-employed – over 750,000 people - are excluded from the SEISS and that many of the unprotected will have low or no social protection under Universal Credit and the Employment and Support Allowance. This means that some have no pay during periods of Covid19 sickness and self-isolation, a situation that could undermine the social distancing strategy. Home-based businesses without premises have no access to grant support with business losses and, we argue, are likely to be reluctant to apply for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme or, indeed, to be eligible for this fund.



SOTA Review

A Review of Assumptions Underlying Women’s Enterprise Policy Initiatives. SOTA Review No 38

In this review, we present evidence on the assumptions that underlie women’s enterprise policy. Critical policy reviews consistently question attempts to unleash women’s entrepreneurial potential by changing women themselves or making them more able to manage inequality. They suggest that enterprise policy should address gender inequality more directly and challenge the masculine norms on which enterprise policy is founded. Moreover, we present new argument that the real policy problems to which enterprise policy should respond is the poor quality of much women’s self-employment and an associated dearth of choice in terms of quality, flexible employment. We set out the policy implications for these challenges and recommendations to shape diverse enterprise ecosystems and ‘good work’ for women.

SOTA Review

How Does Gender Shape Entrepreneurial Resources and Practice?. SOTA review No 35

Women are much less likely to found businesses than men and even less likely to lead growth businesses (ONS, 2019; Rose Review, 2018). Given that the educational attainment of girls surpasses that of boys and women’s economic activity is approaching that of men’s, the scale of this gender gap is startling. As entrepreneurship relies on combining resources to create goods and services for profitable trade (Kitching and Rouse, 2016), this review explores gendered differences in the ownership and command of resources. It focuses on the entrepreneur resources mostly commonly researched: human capital (‘know how’ emergent from education and experience), financial capital (money) and social capital (relationships through which new resources are acquired). It also points to a gap in research concerning how gender shapes ‘labour capital’ (an entrepreneurs’ ability to apply their own or other’s labour to business creation and ownership). Women’s unequal access to resources and the constraints this places on their entrepreneurial activity suggests there is a significant failure in enterprise policies.