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Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute – GESPi

Introduction

GESP Institute logoThe Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute (GESPi) will consolidate existing, and drive new, interdisciplinary research in gender, entrepreneurship and social policy.

It aims to influence policy and social change for inclusive development in the tourism, hospitality and service-related sectors by creating  networks and pathways for knowledge exchange between stakeholders

Our vision is a future where a large body (the hive) of relevant and interdisciplinary research on gender and entrepreneurship is available to all stakeholders, and where there is fluid transfer of knowledge and tools between networks and a more inclusive environment for entrepreneurs. Though entrepreneurship leads to equality and increasing gender awareness can improve social policy, these three fields have not been studied together. GESPi will define and establish a distinctive new field integrating Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy.

The longer term goal is to build, nationally and internationally, research on the critical linkages between gender, entrepreneurship and social policy comparing different specialist industries and localities, in developing countries. 

News and related events

Increasing women in investing and investing in women poster

Increasing women in investing and investing in women, exploring impact investing and gender in Africa

13.00-15.30, Tuesday 5 October 2021

This webinar, organised by Millar Cameron, explores the importance of increasing women’s presence in Africa’s impact investing. We will be discussing why women are crucial to success and why it is in everyone’s interest to redress the gender balance in impact investing, as well as hosting a question-and-answer session on this important topic.

Moderated by Ms Busi Mabuza, Chair of the Board at Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, Millar Cameron’s international development specialists Victoria Bowden and Alison Cannon will be joined by five guests to discuss the importance of increasing women in Africa’s impact investing:

Register here to join the discussion


Women’s journeys through entrepreneurship in the tourism and hospitality industry

13.00-14.30, Thursday 5 November 2020

This webinar was hosted by the EU-funded project WomENt (www.woment2020.eu) and the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management: specifically our Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy (COVE) and the Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy (SWELL). This brought together academics and entrepreneurs from the tourism industry to discuss the changing and increasingly pressing gender and entrepreneurship research agenda:

• Setting the scene: Women and Entrepreneurship in Tourism. Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq. University of Surrey

• Female entrepreneurship in the COVID-19 era. Alessandra Alonso. Founder & CEO. Women in Travel

• Women, technology and entrepreneurship. Patricia Gonzalez. Founder and CEO. Alterhome

• Re-evaluating the benefits of women's entrepreneurship: Is it time to reconsider? Prof. Susan Marlow. University of Nottingham

• A Feminist Research Agenda in Tourism. Dr Ana Maria Munar. Copenhagen Business School

• Moderated by Prof. Allan Williams. Chair of Tourism and Mobility Studies. University of Surrey

Women in Small Tourism Communities

13.00-14.30, Saturday 10 October 2020

Covid-19 has exacerbated the multiple challenges faced by women in small tourism firms (STF). It is recognised that the tourism sector provides women with employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, both vital for their economic and social independence. For women entrepreneurs, their STFs also act as platforms for the promotion of local development and social transformation and enables them to create ‘new’ self-identities.

In this webinar, two African women tourism micro entrepreneurs explain their journeys and how this has transformed them and others. They discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and the strategies they have adopted to overcome its challenges in resource-scarce environments. Two tourism industry experts from academia and industry respond to those presentations, sharing their insights into lessons being learnt and best practices during this pandemic and beyond.

Map with pins

Women in Small Tourism Communities

13.00-14.30, Saturday 10 October 2020, SHTM, University of Surrey, Guildford.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the multiple challenges faced by women in small tourism firms (STF). It is recognised that the tourism sector provides women with employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, both vital for their economic and social independence. For women entrepreneurs, their STFs also act as platforms for the promotion of local development and social transformation and enables them to create ‘new’ self-identities.

In this webinar, two African women tourism micro entrepreneurs explain their journeys and how this has transformed them and others. They discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and the strategies they have adopted to overcome its challenges in resource-scarce environments. Two tourism industry experts from academia and industry respond to those presentations, sharing their insights into lessons being learnt and best practices during this pandemic and beyond.

Our aims

  • To partner with universities, funders, industry and policy makers to pursue research, consultancy and capacity building projects
  • To create a forum for entrepreneurs, investors (e.g. gender lens investors, private equity and angel investors, family offices), NGOs and industry researchers to foster creative thinking about how gender equality in the entrepreneurial sector can enhance inclusive development in African countries
  • To disseminate findings through conference presentations, professional publications and reports, workshops, university courses and new media
  • To publish peer-reviewed journal articles, books, occasional papers, creative writing pieces and case studies

Our research

  • Women’s entrepreneurship in its distinctive forms, including family-based ventures, female succession in family businesses
  • Gender-lens investments in new and established businesses promoting development-led entrepreneurship
  • Gender and environmental entrepreneurship, including green innovations, start-up ventures and growth processes of environmentally-friendly women-owned ventures
  • Public policies and cross-sector collaborations to facilitate gender equality in the entrepreneurial sector, e.g. through support for access childcare, public health, education and food security
  • Entrepreneurship education, including a focus on encouraging women in engineering entrepreneurship education, and teaching innovations and pedagogical interventions that help empower young women and girls to engage with entrepreneurship and develop an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Sector and area studies, with a focus on women and entrepreneurship in hospitality, tourism, leisure, agriculture and healthcare

Projects

UN Women Second Chance Education and Vocational Learning (SCE) Programme

The Open University is the content development partner for UN Women’s Second Chance Education and Vocational Learning (SCE) Programme, which aims to develop context-specific, affordable and scalable learning and employment pathways for empowering the world’s most disadvantaged women and young women. The project combines the University’s international development work and is leveraging the expertise of GESPi to pilot an approach to course development by producing, and supporting the production of, high-quality courses. These are for six target countries (Chile, Australia, Cameroon, Mexico, India and Jordan) and will build on the local partner content and address high priority gaps. The initiative will result in courses being available on the OpenLearn Create and the Kolibri platforms.

The Human Costs of Women’s Entrepreneurial Journeys

A knowledge exchange media partnership between The Open University Business School and openDemocracy, which will publish media articles on women’s entrepreneurial journeys to engage the global readership with GESPi research, expand the communities engaging with its work and increasing the reach, engagement and impact of academic research. This series is commissioned by Julian Richards at openDemocracy and edited by Michael Ngoasong at Open University Business School read the first article here.

Supporting University Curriculum and Creativity in Engineering Entrepreneurship Development (SUCCEED)

A GRCF Royal Academy of Engineering funded Higher Education Partnership for Sub-Saharan Africa. A component of this project is the bridging of the gender gap in the engineering sector through gender-aware engineering entrepreneurship education. This is part of action research on an academic-industry network in Cameroon, funded through This is a collaboration between Institut Saint Jean, Cameroon, the Open University, KCL and Luminno Ltd.

Women’s entrepreneurial journeys through tourism in sub-Saharan Africa

In this GCRF funded project, the University of Surrey together with the University of Cape Coast Ghana and the Pan Atlantic University Nigeria are applying a post-structuralist feminist lens to analyse interviews and questionnaires administered to women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Ghana (March-May 2019) and two stakeholder workshops, one in each of Ghana and Nigeria (July 2019). The research is funded by Research England through the Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI QR GCRF) (January 2019 - Sept 2019).

Women entrepreneurship in tourism

A European Union Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship funded project undertaken by the University of Surrey. The project analyses the different pathways women take in their entrepreneurship journey in a changing tourism industry, and how different environments, agents, policies and actions across different scales influence their opportunities, motivations and challenges in Spain and the UK; working closely with several policy and industry bodies in both countries.

Coping with change: Livelihood transitions strategies and practices through tourism

A British Academy / Newton Fund funded project. The project during which the University of Surrey and Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa researchers analysed and compared livelihood diversification strategies in rural coastal communities in Cornwall in the UK and Eastern Cape in South Africa. It also examined how societal changes influence gender relationships in marginalised rural communities undergoing transition from primary industries to services.

Women as Vectors of Social Entrepreneurship in Hospitality and Tourism

A British Academy / Leverhulme Trust funded project in which researchers from The Open University and University of Surrey examined eco-tourism ventures in Cameroon, focusing on how women owner-managers of micro- and small-tourism firms (STFs) use them as platforms for engaging in various forms of social entrepreneurship leading to societal transformation, economic and community development.


People

Membership in GESPi is open to members across disciplines in The Open University, University of Surrey and associated external collaborators with active research interest in gender, entrepreneurship and social policy. The inclusion of regional expertise between Europe and Africa will provide for cross-learning, knowledge sharing and cross-cultural perspectives.

Our members work on related topics focusing on the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. We also welcome associates from other faculties and institutions.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Dr Michael Ngoasong or Dr Albert Kimbu.

GESPi Members

The Open University University of Surrey
Dr Michael Z. Ngoasong

Senior Lecturer in Management
Dr Albert N. Kimbu

Senior Lecturer in Hospitality & Tourism
Dr Lorena Lombardozzi

Lecturer in Economics
Dr Manuel Alector Ribeiro

Lecturer in Tourism Management
Dr Carolin Decker-Lange

Senior Lecturer in Management
Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq

Research Fellow
School of Hospitality & Tourism Managemen
Sam Toolan

Head of External Engagement
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Professor Nigel Morgan

Head of School
Hospitality & Tourism Management
  Domitille de La Gorce

Trusts and Foundations Manager
University of Surrey
  Yanning Li

Senior Lecturer
University of Surrey
GESPi Associates  
Dr Issahaku Adam

Senior Lecturer
University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Dr Frederick Dayour

Lecturer
University for Development Studies, Ghana
Dr Ewoenam Afenyo-Agbe

Lecturer
University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Dr Ogechi Adeola

Associate Professor
Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria
Dr Tembi Tichaawa

Professor
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Dr Irma Booyens

Lecturer
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Dr Anna de Jong

Senior Lecturer
University of Glasgow, Glasgow
 
Collaborators and Advisers  
Julian Richards

Managing Editor
openDemocracy
Louise Twinning-Ward

Senior Private Sector Specialist for Markets and Technology
The World Bank
Gerd Junne

Founding Director of
The Network University (TNU) Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mary Dinah

Co-Founder of Joblink Foundation and CEO of MAD Hospitality Nigeria
Sylvia Gavigan

Director IMC Global Consultancy
Uganda Consul General for Ireland
Dr Emmanuel Adu-Ampong

Docent, Wageningen University & Research
Netherlands
Lisa Mynheer

Director at Luminno ltd, UK
Judy Kepher Gona

Executive Director, Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda Nairobi, Kenya
Mrs Dimakatso Malwela

Founder Women of Value SA (WOVSA)
Chairperson Southern Africa Women in Tourism (SAWIT)
Alessandra Alonso

Founder, Women in Travel (CIC)

Publications

  • Adu-Ampong E. & Kimbu N.A. (Eds)(2021). Sustainable Tourism Policy and Planning in Africa. 1st Edition, Routledge
  • Choe, J., O’ Regan, M. Kimbu, A.N. (2020). Filipino migrant workers’ leisure and subjective quality of life in Macao, World Leisure Journal, 62(3), DOI: 10.1080/16078055.2020.1798052
  • Figueroa-Domecq, C., Kimbu, A., de Jong A. & Williams, A.M. (2020). Sustainability through the tourism entrepreneurship journey: a gender perspective, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2020.1831001
  • World Tourism Organization (2020), AlUla Framework for Inclusive Community Development through Tourism, UNWTO, Madrid, DOI: https://doi.org/10.18111/9789284422159
  • Zhang, C.X., Kimbu, N.A., Lin, P. & Ngoasong, M.Z. (2020), Guanxi influences on women intrapreneurship. Tourism Management.
  • Eckardt, C., Font, X. & Kimbu, A. (2020) Realistic evaluation as a volunteer tourism supply chain methodology. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28(5), pp. 647-662. 
  • Kimbu, N.A. & Tichaawa, T.M. (2020) Determinants of impact investing for tourism development in emerging destinations of sub-Saharan Africa. Development Southern Africa.
  • Lund, N.F. & Kimbu, N.A. (2020) Applying the Hollywood scriptwriting formula to destination branding. Current Issues in Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2020.1739005
  • Adeola, O., Ngoasong, M., & Evans, O. (2018). The Gender Question and Family Entrepreneurship Research. In Ratten, V., Marques, C. & Braga, V. (Eds.). Knowledge, Learning and Innovation: Research insights into cross-sector collaboration. Springer. (Chapter 10, p. 159-176)
  • Decker-Lange, Carolin (2019). Family Structure and Ownership Transition as “Polar Opposites”: An Emotional Embeddedness Perspective. In: Lossau, Julia; Warnke, Ingo H. and Schmidt-Brücken, Daniel eds. Spaces of Dissention. Towards a New Perspective on Contradiction. Springer VS (In Press)
  • Decker, Carolin (2018). Stakeholders’ impact on turnaround performance: The case of German savings banks. Journal of Small Business Management, 56(4), pp. 534-554
  • Decker, Carolin and Günther, Christina (2017). The impact of family ownership on innovation: evidence from the German machine tool industry. Small Business Economics, 48(1) pp. 199-212
  • Decker, Carolin, Heinrichs, Katharina, Rau, Sabine, Jaskiewicz, Peter (2017). What do we know about succession in family businesses? Mapping current knowledge and future territory. In: Kellermanns, Franz and Hoy, Frank (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Family Business, Oxford, UK: Routledge, pp. 15-44
  • Decker, Carolin and Günther, Christina (2016). Coordinating family entrepreneurship: When money seeks opportunity. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 8(1), pp. 46-61
  • Sambala, E.S. and Ngoasong, M.Z. (2014). Personal View: Empowering rural women’s health - What’s going wrong with the strategies? Malawi Medical Journal; 26 (3): 93-96
  • Kimbu, Albert Nsom and Ngoasong, Michael Zisuh (2016). Women as Vectors of Social Entrepreneurship. Annals of Tourism Research, 60 pp. 63–79
  • Kimbu, A. N., Ngoasong, M. Z., Adeola, O., & Afenyo-Agbe, E. (2019). Collaborative Networks for Sustainable Human Capital Management in Women’s Tourism Entrepreneurship: The role of tourism policy. Tourism Planning and Development, 16(2): 161-178
  • Ngoasong, Michael Zisuh and Kimbu, Albert Nsom (2019). Why Hurry? The Slow Process of High Growth in Women-Owned Businesses in a Resource-Scarce Context. Journal of Small Business Management, 57(1) pp. 40–58
  • Ngoasong, M.Z., Kimbu, A.N. (2016). Informal microfinance institutions and development-led tourism entrepreneurship, Tourism Management 52 pp. 430-439
  • Twining-Ward, L. (2017) “Twenty Reasons Sustainable Tourism Counts for Development,” Tourism for Development Knowledge Series, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. 20 reasons
  • Twining-Ward, L. and Zhou, V. (2017) “Women and Tourism: Designing for Inclusion”, Tourism for Development Knowledge Series, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. Women and Tourism
  • Twining-Ward, L., Messerli, H. R., Sharma, A. and Villascusa Cerezo, J. (2018) “Tourism Theory of Change,” Tourism for Development Knowledge Series, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Media articles