Ms Laura IH Bennett

BA(Hons), MSc

Management School

Doctoral Researcher

Full contact details

Ms Laura IH Bennett
Management School
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

Laura has had a broad career to date, spanning international development, non-profits, social enterprises, and tech startups. 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 also works as Programmes and Partnerships Lead at Sheffield Technology Parks, advising on and designing programmes to support entrepreneurs, to monitor impact, and to develop partnerships. Laura was part of the founding team of Tech North (now folded into Tech City UK) and for four years, Laura was Operations Director for a non-profit social enterprise in Cusco, Peru.

Alongside her PhD and LEP board responsibilities, Laura works freelance. 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. 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.


MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development (2008)

BA (Hons) First Class in French and Hispanic Studies (2007)

Research interests

The impetus for this PhD research stems from two sources: first, the practical first-hand experience of the researcher working in, and having exposure to, various entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world; and second, the empirical academic research into entrepreneurial ecosystems reaching a certain turning point whereby there is a need to move beyond descriptions of ‘successful’ ecosystems and towards deeper theorisation about the causal mechanisms.

The intended contribution of this project is twofold. Theoretically, the research will contribute by illuminating how different stakeholders experience the entrepreneurial ecosystem, thus extending the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems beyond the prevailing top-down perspective. Practically, it is hoped that the findings from this research project will enable policymakers to make better informed strategic interventions in their efforts to support entrepreneurship.

Professional activities and memberships

Programmes & Partnerships Lead at Sheffield Technology Parks (Oct 2018 - present)

Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board private sector member (Oct 2017 - present)