European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Engaged entrepreneurship research in Europe

ECSB Doctoral Workshop on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
on 17 November 2021 in Turku, Finland


Best paper wins trip to USASBE Conference in January 2022 or 2023

Professor Helle Neergaard,
Aarhus University, Denmark
Professor René Mauer, ESCP Europe, Germany

Application deadline: 15 June 2021


The Doctoral Workshop has a successful tradition at RENT. The workshop represents a unique opportunity for doctoral students to present their thesis proposals and obtain useful insight into how their work can be improved and progressed as well as an opportunity for bouncing ideas off on experienced faculty. The workshop also facilitates the exchange of research experiences and new ideas in the fields of entrepreneurship and small business. The ECSB Doctoral Workshop is truly a meeting place for both new and experienced researchers from all over Europe and an ideal place to start networking. We particularly encourage students in the early stages of their research to participate as a way of launching themselves into the international research community. Please note that you need not wait to be accepted to the conference in order to apply for the Doctoral Workshop.

The workshop is organized with a morning and an afternoon session. The morning session is a round table plenary session with a facilitated discussion of common challenges. The afternoon session is split up into 4-5 tracks to discuss individual student proposals in small groups. One or two senior faculty (group session leaders) will discuss each proposal. Feedback will also be expected from peers. All we expect is a reasonable level of English so that participants can interact fully in the process.

Doctoral candidates interested in attending and presenting their research proposal (not the result of completed research!) should send a two-page abstract including information on when they commenced their Ph.D. study and when they expect to complete. The abstract should be organized according to the following guidelines: it should explain (i) the topicality of the research, (ii) the theoretical background, (iii) stating research question(s) and theory questions, as well as (iv) the proposed methodology and (v) expected contribution to the field. The abstract should be sent to Professor Helle Neergaard ( no later than June 15, 2021. Accepted participants are expected to deliver an extended 6-page proposal by September 1, 2021. This will be used as basis for the afternoon discussions and will be distributed to other doctoral students and the group session leaders.

Participants in the doctoral workshop are finalists in the ECSB Doctoral Competition for a place on USASBE’s doctoral consortium in January 2022 or January 23. The award is worth 1,000 EUR and is based on the best doctoral thesis proposal submitted to the RENT doctoral consortium. The assessment committee consists of the chairpersons and the group session leaders.

The number of participants is limited to 20 students. Early application is encouraged, since the workshop tends to fill up quickly and there is usually a long waiting list. We apply a first come-first served policy in selecting students and we prioritize early stage students. Applicants will be notified of acceptance of their proposal no later than July 1, 2021. Immediately following receipt of acceptance, students are required to register formally for the Conference.

No fee is charged for participation in the Doctoral Workshop. However, participation in the RENT Conference is compulsory. Please note though, that students need not present a paper at the Conference itself to participate, although this is encouraged. Upon acceptance to the Doctoral Workshop students qualify for a significant reduction of the official conference fee, sponsored by ECSB. The fee includes one year’s full membership of ECSB. Information on how to obtain the fee reduction will be provided together with the acceptance email.

Further information on the Doctoral Workshop will be forwarded together with the letter of acceptance. For further information on the RENT Conference itself, please see This is also the place to become familiar with the ECSB organisation and the advantages this offers.

Doctoral students may agree that turning ideas into a researchable question is the hardest part of your studies. You have an idea, but how do you know if it matters, or is any ‘good’? Winning the “ECSB Best Doctoral Student Award” has been a real motivation. Besides being able to present my work, I met some of the most distinguished academics in the field in Europe. I was also given the opportunity to meet scholars and students from across the Atlantic at the USASBE conference in New Orleans. Taking part in the Doctoral Consortium was a good learning experience and a chance to receive feedback on my research proposal. There was a great mixture of academics, practitioners, entrepreneurs and academic entrepreneurs who were always ready to share their stories. One of the most valuable sessions I attended was a round-table, run by Gregory Ulferts from the University of Detroit Mercy, on businesses owned by people with disabilities and the work of the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) that supports inclusion of disabled people in business. After two days of attending various conference sessions, without seeing a daylight, I went out to sit by the Mississippi River and tasted the chicory-infused coffee and beignets in the French Quarter.

Eva Kasperova, University of Kingston

Eva won the Best Doctoral Proposal Award in RENT 2011