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The Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) 42nd annual conference was hosted by Newcastle and Northumbria Universities this year with educators and practitioners gathered in Newcastle for ISBE’s annual conference. This event has a reputation for the highest-quality, cutting-edge entrepreneurial and small business research, both nationally and internationally.

Dr Phil Smith’s award-winning research paper, Making Sense of Consumer Interaction between SMEs and Social Media, from a Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) Perspective, fitted perfectly to the theme of the conference by investigating the consumer interaction between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and social media. The judges believed that Dr Smith’s paper makes important and relevant contribution to this contemporary area of interest.

Dr Smith is a practitioner-turned-educator and an alumnus of the University. He started teaching international students at the Chester Business School in 2013, before being engaged as core module leader on the visiting Chinese student programme in 2018, where he now enjoys teaching visiting Chinese students in Chester and China. His past career experience, to Managing Director level of multinationals, is grounded in many different consumer focussed environments where people engagement is an essential ingredient for success.

Other members of the BRICC at the conference included Dr Wing Lam, who discussed Entrepreneurship in Minority Groups track - Understanding the Entrepreneurial Learning Process of Immigrant Entrepreneurs; Ying Zhao, Entrepreneurial finance track - Understanding Reward-Based Crowdfunding as an Alternative Source of Entrepreneurial Finance – from a perspective of signalling theory; Zhijian Zhong, Entrepreneurial Finance track - Syndication in cross-border venture capital: the effect on local venture capitals; and Ke Zhu, whose research area in family business and Dian Wang with the research focus in business support.

Dr Smith said: “I feel hugely honoured to have received this accolade and I hope my research will help SMEs with their interactions with customers on social media which is very much a burgeoning area of research.”

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