Position: Doctoral Student
Areas of interests: Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Northern Powerhouse, Digital Economy, Industrial Strategy
Follow Laura on twitter @lauraihbennett
Laura began a PhD at Sheffield University Management School in 2017, supervised by Professor Tim Vorley and Dr Chay Brooks. She is researching entrepreneurial ecosystems; specifically the social connections / networks between entrepreneurs that enable them to access the support, advice, and finance they need in order to grow their businesses. She hopes to leverage this knowledge to close the loop between policy and practice, so that cities can foster a productive environment in which entrepreneurship can flourish.
Laura is a private sector Board member for the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (SCR LEP), specialising in the digital economy and entrepreneurship. She sits on two SCR sub-boards on Business Growth, and Skills, Enterprise, and Education. Alongside her PhD and LEP board responsibilities, Laura works as a freelancer. She has delivered workshops about the digital economy and entrepreneurship to policy-makers across Europe and local councils in the UK. In 2017, she authored a report on the Creative Digital sector in Sheffield, commissioned by the University of Sheffield and Creative Sheffield. Laura has designed, built, and run bespoke business support and peer-to- peer learning programmes for digital tech entrepreneurs, including Founders’ Network for Tech North, the Startup MBA for Founder Centric, and the Startup Tribe for Escape the City. Laura holds a First Class BA degree in French & Hispanic Studies (2007) from the University of Birmingham, and an MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development (2008) from the University of London.