Northumbria and Newcastle University Business Schools have jointly hosted a major international conference on entrepreneurial leadership.

The Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) annual conference for 2019 was held in Newcastle this month, drawing around 350 attendees and presenters from more than 40 countries. Key speakers included founder and President of the Women’s Economic Imperative Dr Margo Thomas, Newcastle Central Labour candidate and former Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation Chi Onwurah, and Dinah Bennett OBE, founder of Internal Consultants for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise (ICE).

Spread over two days, the conference theme of SPACE, focused on creating a new and dynamic form of entrepreneurial leadership to support innovation and enterprise ambitions across businesses, support agencies and higher education. It was also an opportunity to showcase the North East as a region of innovation and fast-growing new-economy industries.

Organised jointly by Northumbria University’s Dr Michele Rusk and Newcastle University Business School’s Dr Robert Newbery, the event also sought to inspire the creation of globally connected entrepreneurial communities.

Michele Rusk said: “We were extremely proud to bring ISBE 2019 to Newcastle. As a genuinely international conferences, it has been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurship and to raise entrepreneurial ambition – especially here in the North East. Our region is often ranked near the bottom on entrepreneurial league tables in the UK, so this was a chance to debate how we galvanise leadership to make Newcastle and the North East one of the best places in the world to start a business and then prosper.”

Northumbria is recognised as a leading university for supporting enterprise. It was recently named the UK’s top ranked university for graduate business start-ups based on estimated turnover, for a third year running. In the Higher Education Business and Communities Interaction survey for 2017/18, turnover for Northumbria graduate start-ups exceeded £81.4 million – exceeding the second placed institution by more than £34 million.