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Lancaster University

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Abstract

Established in 2002, the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) (until 2015) and now the Department for Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation (DESI), recognised the growing prominence of the academic study of entrepreneurship. Since its inception, the focus has been on three key elements - research, education and business support. A unique academic department within a business school, DESI offers a comprehensive suite of support to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which is constantly developed to meet the changing demands of the sector. Its approach has been informed by 15 years of world-class research and engagement with entrepreneurs. This has led to a sophisticated and informed understanding of SME engagement and learning processes. Through projects part-financed by the European Union, Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), DESI has assisted more than 2,500 SMEs during the last 10 years, resulting in significant performance improvements and business growth in the SMEs supported.