Gender Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute GESPi logo

Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute

The Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute (GESPi) will consolidate existing, and drive new, interdisciplinary research in gender, entrepreneurship and social policy. It aims to influence policy and social change for inclusive development in the tourism, hospitality and service-related sectors by creating networks and pathways for knowledge exchange between stakeholders. Founded in September 2019, GESPi is a joint initiative between researchers at the University of Surrey and the Open University.

Our vision

Our vision is a future where a large body (the hive) of relevant and interdisciplinary research on gender and entrepreneurship is available to all stakeholders, and where there is fluid transfer of knowledge and tools between networks and a more inclusive environment for entrepreneurs. Though entrepreneurship leads to equality and increasing gender awareness can improve social policy, these three fields have not been studied together. GESPi will define and establish a distinctive new field integrating gender, entrepreneurship and social policy. The longer-term goal is to build, nationally and internationally, research on the critical linkages between gender, entrepreneurship and social policy comparing different specialist industries and localities, in developing countries and beyond.

Our aims

  • To partner with universities, funders, industry and policy makers to pursue research, consultancy and capacity building projects.
  • To create a forum for entrepreneurs, investors (for example gender lens investors, private equity and angel investors, family offices), NGOs and industry researchers to foster creative thinking about how gender equality in the entrepreneurial sector can enhance inclusive development in African countries and beyond.
  • To disseminate findings through conference presentations, professional publications and reports, workshops, university courses and new media.
  • To publish peer-reviewed journal articles, books, occasional papers, creative writing pieces and case studies.

Our research areas

  • Women’s entrepreneurship in its distinctive forms, including family-based ventures, female succession in family businesses.
  • Gender-lens investments in new and established businesses promoting development-led entrepreneurship.
  • Gender and environmental entrepreneurship, including green innovations, start-up ventures and growth processes of environmentally-friendly women-owned ventures.
  • Public policies and cross-sector collaborations to facilitate gender equality in the entrepreneurial sector, for example through support for access childcare, public health, education and food security.
  • Entrepreneurship education, including a focus on encouraging women and young people in engineering entrepreneurship education, and teaching innovations and pedagogical interventions that help empower young (wo)men, girls and boys to engage with entrepreneurship and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Sector and area studies, with a focus on (wo)men, youths (and other marginalised groups) and entrepreneurship in hospitality, tourism, leisure, agriculture and healthcare among others.

Research projects

Start date: September 2020

End date: June 2021

Start date: May 2020

End date: September 2020

Start date: January 2019

End date: September 2019

Supporting university curriculum and creativity in engineering entrepreneurship development (SUCCEED)

Sustainable development, wellbeing and entrepreneurship

Principal investigators: Dr Albert Kimbu , Dr Anna de Jong, Dr Manuel Alector Ribeiro, Dr Cristina Figueroa-Domeq, Dr Yanning Li, Dr Xuan (Lorna) Wang, Dr Etienne Bailey


  • Smith, W., Cohen, S. Kimbu, A.N. & de Jong, A. (2021). Reshaping Gender in Aviation Employment. Annals of Tourism Research, 89.

  • Smith, E.W., Kimbu, A.N., de Jong. A., & Cohen, S. (2021) Gendered Instagram representations in the aviation industry, Journal of Sustainable Tourism,

  • Ngoasong, M.Z., Adeola, O., Kimbu, A.N., Hinson, R.E. (Eds.) (2021). New Frontiers in Hospitality and Tourism Management in Africa. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-70171-0

  • Ribeiro, A.M., Adam, I., Kimbu, A.N., Afenyo-Agbe, E., Adeola, O., Figueroa-Domecq, C., & de Jong, A. (2021). Women entrepreneurship orientation, networks and firm performance in the tourism industry in resource-scarce contexts. Tourism Management, 86,

  • Adu-Ampong E. & Kimbu N.A. (Eds) (2021). Sustainable Tourism Policy and Planning in Africa. 1st Edition, Routledge. 
  • Kimbu, A.N., de Jong, A., Adam, I., Ribeiro, A.M., Adeola, O., Afenyo-Agbe, E., & Figueroa-Domecq, C. (2021). Recontextualising gender in entrepreneurial leadership. Annals of Tourism Research, 88C.
  • Ngoasong, M., Wang, J., Amdam, R., & Bjarnar, O. (2021). The role of MNE subsidiaries in the practice of global business models in transforming economies. Management and Organization Review, 1-28. doi:10.1017/mor.2020.55
  • Ribeiro, A.M., Adam, I., Kimbu, A.N., Afenyo-Agbe, E., Adeola, O., Figueroa-Domecq, C., & de Jong, A. (2021). Women entrepreneurship orientation, networks and firm performance in the tourism industry in resource-scarce contexts. Tourism Management, 86,

  • Choe, J., O’ Regan, M. Kimbu, A.N. (2020). Filipino migrant workers’ leisure and subjective quality of life in Macao, World Leisure Journal, 62(3), DOI: 10.1080/16078055.2020.1798052
  • Figueroa-Domecq, C., Kimbu, A., de Jong A. & Williams, A.M. (2020). Sustainability through the tourism entrepreneurship journey: a gender perspective, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2020.1831001
  • Eckardt, C., Font, X. & Kimbu, A. (2020) Realistic evaluation as a volunteer tourism supply chain methodology. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28(5), pp. 647-662. 
  • Kimbu, N.A. & Tichaawa, T.M. (2020) Determinants of impact investing for tourism development in emerging destinations of sub-Saharan Africa. Development Southern Africa.
  • Lund, N.F. & Kimbu, N.A. (2020) Applying the Hollywood scriptwriting formula to destination branding. Current Issues in Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2020.1739005
  • Zhang, C.X., Kimbu, N.A., Lin, P. & Ngoasong, M.Z. (2020), Guanxi influences on women intrapreneurship. Tourism Management.
  • World Tourism Organization (2020), AlUla Framework for Inclusive Community Development through Tourism, UNWTO, Madrid, DOI:

  • Decker-Lange, C. (2019). Family Structure and Ownership Transition as “Polar Opposites”: An Emotional Embeddedness Perspective. In: Lossau, Julia; Warnke, Ingo H. and Schmidt-Brücken, Daniel eds. Spaces of Dissention. Towards a New Perspective on Contradiction. Springer VS (In Press)
  • Kimbu, A.N., Ngoasong, M.Z., Adeola, O. & Afenyo-Agbe, E. (2019). Collaborative Networks for sustainable human capital management in women’s tourism entrepreneurship: The role of tourism policy. Tourism Planning & Development, 16(2) pp. 161-178.
  • Ngoasong M. Z. & Kimbu A.N. (2019). Why Hurry? The Slow Process of High Growth in Women‐Owned Businesses in a Resource‐Scarce Context. Journal of Small Business Management, 57(1), pp. 40-58.
  • Tichaawa, M.T.  & Kimbu, A.N. (2019) Unlocking Policy Impediments for Service Delivery in Tourism Firms: Evidence from Small and Medium Sized Hotels in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tourism Planning & Development 16(2) pp. 179-196.
  • Hanna, P., Wijesinghe, S., Paliatsos, I., Walker, C., Adams, M., & Kimbu, A. (2019) Active engagement with nature: outdoor adventure tourism, sustainability and wellbeing. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(9), pp. 1355-1373.
  • Dayour F., Park, S. & Kimbu A.N. (2019). Backpackers’ perceived risks towards smartphone usage and risk reduction strategies: A mixed methods study. Tourism Management, 62, pp. 52-68.

  • Adeola, O., Ngoasong, M., & Evans, O. (2018). The Gender Question and Family Entrepreneurship Research. In Ratten, V., Marques, C. & Braga, V. (Eds.). Knowledge, Learning and Innovation: Research insights into cross-sector collaboration. Springer. (Chapter 10, p. 159-176).
  • Decker, C. (2018). Stakeholders’ impact on turnaround performance: The case of German savings banks. Journal of Small Business Management, 56(4), pp. 534-554
  • Decker, C. & Günther, C. (2017). The impact of family ownership on innovation: evidence from the German machine tool industry. Small Business Economics, 48(1) pp. 199-212
  • Twining-Ward, L., Messerli, H. R., Sharma, A. and Villascusa Cerezo, J. (2018) Tourism Theory of Change. Tourism for Development Knowledge Series, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

  • Decker, C., Heinrichs, K., Rau, S., Jaskiewicz, P. (2017). What do we know about succession in family businesses? Mapping current knowledge and future territory. In: Kellermanns, Franz and Hoy, Frank (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Family Business, Oxford, UK: Routledge, pp. 15-44
  • Twining-Ward, L. (2017). Twenty Reasons Sustainable Tourism Counts for Development. Tourism for Development Knowledge Series, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. 20 reasons
  • Twining-Ward, L. and Zhou, V. (2017). Women and Tourism: Designing for Inclusion. Tourism for Development Knowledge Series, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. Women and Tourism

  • Decker, C. & Günther, C. (2016). Coordinating family entrepreneurship: When money seeks opportunity. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 8(1), pp. 46-61
  • Kimbu, A.N. & Ngoasong, M.Z. (2016). Women as Vectors of Social Entrepreneurship. Annals of Tourism Research, 60, pp. 63–79
  • Ngoasong, M.Z., Kimbu, A.N. (2016). Informal microfinance institutions and development-led tourism entrepreneurship, Tourism Management 52, pp. 430-439

Past events

New Frontiers in Hospitality and Tourism Management in Africa book cover

New Frontiers in Hospitality and Tourism Management in Africa virtual book launch

Friday, 9th July 2021 

The event which had as special guests of honour, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Sierra Leone Hon. Dr Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ghana, Hon. Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, and the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Nigeria, Mr Folorunsho Coker, saw these eminent personalities deep dive into the role of policy in tourism management in their respective countries and Africa as a whole. The intense exchanges highlighted the need for more active collaboration between African academics and industry/government and importantly for Africa to start looking inward and applying home-grown solutions to addressing their challenges, especially in the post-pandemic era. Chapter authors also highlighted not only the tourism management challenges across the continent but importantly identified various innovative empirical and theoretically driven management strategies to overcome these. 

Watch the event

Pupils having a discussion

Women’s journeys through entrepreneurship in the tourism and hospitality industry

1pm - 2:30pm, Thursday 5 November 2020

This webinar was hosted by the EU-funded project WomENt and the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management: specifically our Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy (COVE) and the Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy (SWELL). This brought together academics and entrepreneurs from the tourism industry to discuss the changing and increasingly pressing gender and entrepreneurship research agenda:

  • Setting the scene: Women and Entrepreneurship in Tourism. Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq. University of Surrey
  • Female entrepreneurship in the Covid-19 era. Alessandra Alonso. Founder & CEO. Women in Travel
  • Women, technology and entrepreneurship. Patricia Gonzalez. Founder and CEO. Alterhome
  • Re-evaluating the benefits of women's entrepreneurship: Is it time to reconsider? Prof. Susan Marlow. University of Nottingham
  • A Feminist Research Agenda in Tourism. Dr Ana Maria Munar. Copenhagen Business School
  • Moderated by Prof. Allan Williams. Chair of Tourism and Mobility Studies. University of Surrey.
Screenshot of the zoom webinar about women in small tourism communities

Women in Small Tourism Communities

1pm - 2:30pm, Saturday 10 October 2020, SHTM, University of Surrey, Guildford.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the multiple challenges faced by women in small tourism firms (STF). It is recognised that the tourism sector provides women with employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, both vital for their economic and social independence. For women entrepreneurs, their STFs also act as platforms for the promotion of local development and social transformation and enables them to create ‘new’ self-identities.

In this webinar, two African women tourism micro entrepreneurs explain their journeys and how this has transformed them and others. They discuss the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and the strategies they have adopted to overcome its challenges in resource-scarce environments. Two tourism industry experts from academia and industry respond to those presentations, sharing their insights into lessons being learnt and best practices during this pandemic and beyond. 

Watch the event


Membership in GESPi is open to staff across disciplines in the University of Surrey, The Open University, Associates and external collaborators with active research interest in gender, entrepreneurship and social policy. The inclusion of regional expertise between Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe will provide for cross-learning, knowledge sharing and cross-cultural perspectives. We also welcome associates from other faculties and institutions.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Dr Albert Kimbu or Dr Michael Ngoasong

Find an expert

University of Surrey

Albert Kimbu profile image

Dr Albert Kimbu

Reader, Head of Department of Tourism and Transport

Manuel Alector Ribeiro profile image

Dr Alector Ribeiro

Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management

Nigel Morgan profile image

Professor Nigel Morgan

Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Sumeetra Ramakrishnan profile image

Dr Sumeetra Ramakrishnan

Senior Teaching Fellow

Shi (Tracy) Xu profile image

Dr Tracy Xu

Senior Lecturer in Hospitality

Anke Winchenbach profile image

Anke Winchenbach

Teaching Fellow and PhD Researcher

Xavier Font profile image

Professor Xavier Font

Professor of Sustainability Marketing

Yanning Li profile image

Dr Yanning Li

Lecturer in Events Management

The Open University

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Dr Michael Z. Ngoasong

Senior Lecturer in Management

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Dr Lorena Lombardozzi

Lecturer in Economics

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Dr Carolin Decker-Lange

Senior Lecturer in Management

Postgraduate research students

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Mohamed Ibrahim

Postgraduate Research Student

Tingyu Liang profile image

Tingyu Liang

PhD Researcher

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Prosanjit Saha

Postgraduate Research Student

Whitney Smith profile image

Whitney Smith

PhD Student

GESPi associates

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Dr Issahaku Adam

Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana

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Dr Ogechi Adeola

Associate Professor, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria

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Dr Emmanuel Adu-Ampong

Docent, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

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Dr Ewoenam Afenyo-Agbe

Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana

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Dr Irma Booyens

Lecturer, Strathclyde University, Glasgow

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Dr Frederick Dayour

Senior Lecturer, SDD University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, Ghana

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Dr Cristina Figueroa-Domecq

Associate Professor, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid

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Dr Tembi Tichaawa

Professor, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Dr Anna de Jong

Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow, Glasgow

Collaborators and advisers

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Alessandra Alonso

Founder, Women in Travel (CIC)

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Mary Dinah

Co-Founder of Joblink Foundation and CEO of MAD Hospitality Nigeria

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Dr Sylvia Gavigan

Director IMC Global Consultancy, Uganda Consul General for Ireland

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Gerd Junne

Founding Director of The Network University (TNU) Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Judy Kepher Gona

Executive Director, Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda Nairobi, Kenya

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Dimakatso Malwela

Founder Women of Value SA (WOVSA), Chairperson Southern Africa Women in Tourism (SAWIT)

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Lisa Mynheer

Director at Luminno Ltd, UK

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Julian Richards

Managing Editor, openDemocracy

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Dr Louise Twinning-Ward

Senior Private Sector Specialist for Markets and Technology, The World Bank

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686300
  • Fax: +44 (0)1483 686346

Find us


School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Austin Pearce Building (AP)
University of Surrey