Kingston University’s internationally recognised Small Business Research Centre is carrying out a study looking in to the knowledge and skills needed by social entrepreneurs to successfully run community energy projects. The end goal is to compile a bank of evidence about these entrepreneurs, the activities they implement and the challenges they have to contend with.
Funded by major, global infrastructure company YTL Corporation, this research forms part of a wider project – Kingston’s Audio-visual Entrepreneurship Resources and Network (KAVERN). The project is led by Professor Audley Genus, YTL Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Kingston University’s Business School. Professor Genus is developing an approach aimed at stimulating sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in firms and communities.
“In recent times, there has been a lot of attention on barriers created by government to hinder the growth of the renewable energy industry,” Professor Audley explained. “I believe it is critical, though, that we look beyond legal or regulatory issues and instead concentrate on public attitudes and finding new ways to get people involved in green energy supply and consumption.”
The project focuses on the entrepreneurial endeavours which are contributing to the creation and use of renewable energy within communities. This includes analysing what can be done to promote renewables by encouraging people to play an active role in energy generation.
The study ties together research and enterprise and aims to improve our understanding of factors affecting the expansion of low carbon communities in the United Kingdom with the objective of improving existing projects by helping communities learn from each other. Professor Genus believes collaboration with key sector bodies such as Community Energy England is a vital element of the research. “Working with these partners will ensure the findings are disseminated widely to hopefully create a nationwide catalyst for growth and change,” he added.