Absent or overlooked? Promoting diversity among entrepreneurs with public support needs

Beldina Owalla*, Tim Vorley, Tom Coogan, Helen Lawton Smith, Katy Wing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the widely recognised importance of diversity for business performance, knowledge concerning the support needs of under-represented groups is still limited. We adopt an intersectional approach to analyse the challenges and support needs of ethnic minority entrepreneurs, and those with disabilities, to participate in entrepreneurial activity in the UK. Our qualitative data is based on focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that engagement in entrepreneurship is influenced not just by minority status, but by the specific relations to other socio-demographic categories within which that status is embedded. Intersectional counter-frames form part of the strategies utilised by individuals to gain access to otherwise limited resources. We develop a conceptual model for promoting greater equality, diversity and inclusion, within an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and recommend a more holistic approach to realising inclusive economic growth. This includes adopting a hybrid/blended approach that combines targeted programs with the development of mainstream support programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-261
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2021


  • Counterframes
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • EDI
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Equality
  • Intersectionality
  • Policy initiatives


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