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Monder Ram - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Monder Ram

Director, Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship & Professor of Small Business | Aston University


Professor Ram is an authority on small business & ethnic minority entrepreneurship research & has appeared frequently in the media.







Monder Ram: Migrant Business Organising & working with Citizens UK Professor Monder Ram on why Common Purpose Routes to Enterprise | Professor Monder Ram & Jawaahir Daahir | TEDxLeicester Network boosts ethnic minority business Introduction to Diversity Theme by Prof Monder Ram




Professor Monder Ram OBE is the Director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME). He is a leading authority on small business and ethnic minority entrepreneurship research and has published widely on the subject, and has extensive experience of working in and acting as a consultant to small and ethnic minority businesses. Monder is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences, and advises the government on the importance and value of ethnic minority businesses through his position on the APPG for BAME Business Owners. He also holds visiting positions at Warwick University and the University of Turku.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Industrial Sociology

Migrant and Refugee Entrepreneurship

SMEs in the West Midlands

Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship


Education (4)

University of Warwick, Warwick Business School: PhD 1992

‘Management, Control, Ethnicity and the Labour Process’

University of Warwick, Warwick Business School: MA 1987

University of Central England in Birmingham: DMS 1986

University of Central England in Birmingham: BA 1984

Affiliations (5)

  • UNITEE (New European Business Confederation) : Member
  • Research Advisory Group for the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission : Member
  • Local Advisory Group, Birmingham Common Purpose : Chair
  • Queen’s Award for Enterprise : Member of the Judging Panel
  • ART Business Loans : Non-Executive Director

Media Appearances (6)

EXCLUSIVE: Asians ‘completely forgotten’ by government during Covid

Eastern Eye  online


Ethnic minority businesses at risk. The need for support is echoed by Professor Monder Ram, director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) at Aston University in Birmingham.

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Aston University highlights the importance of c-stores

TalkingRetail  online


Professor Monder Ram, the director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, was also interviewed for the podcast, and said resilient Asian retail businesses were among the “heroes” of the pandemic.

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Birmingham’s ‘cheap and cheerful’ curry houses face closures due to social distancing

Birmingham Mail  online


Price rises to ‘realistic levels’ may be needed, according to Professor Monder Ram, director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, who fears more than a third of curry houses are under threat.

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Virtual round table on BAME business owners’ Covid-19 response

EasternEye  online


APPG chair and shadow minister digital, culture, media and sport Chi Onwurah MP will chair the event, which will see participation from Professor Monder Ram from the centre for research in ethnic minority entrepreneurship and the NatWest Bank’s business inclusion programme manager Sharniya Ferdinand, long time diversity advocate, Baroness Burt of Solihull and Chair of BAME Business Policy for the FSB Diana Chrouch.

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Third of curry houses may not reopen following lockdown

Express & Star  online


The impact could actually be worse,according to Professor Monder Ram, Director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, unless venues invested and raised prices to realistic levels.

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Coronavirus in the UK: Why thousands of the UK’s curry houses probably won’t be able to reopen

iNews  online


Professor Monder Ram, director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, which is part of the university, works to support, develop, and modernise small businesses, chiefly those run by people from minorities.

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Research Grants (5)

Unfinished Business: Moving Closer to Building an Inclusive Ecosystem for Growth in Disadvantaged Areas

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise $37,000

Oct 2018 – Sept 2019

ENCOMPASS: Engaging Communities, Publics and Society

Natural Environment Research Council $86,274

Oct 2017-Oct 2018

Building an Inclusive Ecosystem

Economic Social and Research Council $6187

April 2017- Jan 2018

The Impact of the National Living Wage on Small Firms

Low Pay Commission $49,689

Feb 2017 – Dec 2017

Building an Inclusive Ecosystem for Growth in Disadvantaged Areas

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise $250,000

Oct 2016 – May 2018

Articles (5)

The Roots of Informal Responses to Regulatory Change: Non‐compliant Small Firms and the National Living Wage

British Journal of Management

Monder Ram, Paul Edwards, Guglielmo Meardi, Trevor Jones, Sabina Doldor


How do small ‘non‐compliant’ firms (those evading existing regulations) react to further regulatory change? The impact of the National Living Wage in the UK in 2016 is analysed through 22 mostly longitudinal case studies of small non‐compliant firms. The varied responses, endurance of non‐compliance, and blurred and dynamic nature of transitions to compliance are discussed through the lens of institutional approaches to informality. The analysis sheds new light on the relative autonomy of micro processes and the conditions under which external forces affect these processes. Non‐compliant informality, as a persisting feature of small business, is unlikely to be transformed by legal regulation alone.

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Bricolage as Survival, Growth and Transformation: The Role of Patch-Working in the Social Agency of Migrant Entrepreneurs

Work, Employment and Society

María Villares-Varela, Monder Ram, Trevor Jones


This article examines the patch-working strategies of migrant entrepreneurs as a form of social agency. ‘Patch-working’ – the reliance on supplementary forms of income to support business activity – is often seen as a means of cushioning the financial vulnerability of small firms. However, the mechanisms and forms that patch-working takes tend to be overlooked. Evidence from 42 West Midlands’ firms shows that, despite the highly constrained operating environment, the exercise of social agency can help to cushion against disadvantage and to rework their current conditions through patch-working. This allows for business growth, and even transformational growth in some cases, rather than sheer survival. Even so, our findings show that the agency of migrant entrepreneurs brings about only minor improvements in revenue and is certainly not capable of fundamentally changing either the nature of the sector or the structure of the labour market in which they are embedded.

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Diversity, economic development and new migrant entrepreneurs

Urban Studies

Trevor Jones, Monder Ram, Maria Villares-Varela


How do migrant entrepreneurs contribute to economic development? The growing attention to the contribution that migrants make tends to be skewed towards their economic role. Drawing on interviews with 49 new migrant business owners and 60 workers in the West Midlands, UK, we argue that benefits of diversity should be explored beyond the economic dividend. We engage with key theoretical developments in the fields of migrant entrepreneurship and diversity economics, and show that migrant entrepreneurs are characterised by the polarisation of their performance between high fliers and survival entrepreneurs. Despite their overall resource poverty, migrant entrepreneurs on the lower level create employment for their locality, cater to community needs and cushion the social incorporation of new communities in British society. We argue that debates around the benefits of diversity should incorporate not only economic growth, but also its impact on social processes.

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Migrant entrepreneurship: taking stock and moving forward

The Dynamics of Entrepreneurial Contexts

Trevor Jones, Monder Ram and María Villares-Varela


The arrival of Kloosterman and colleagues’ ‘mixed embeddedness’ perspective at the turn of the twenty-first century reinforced the importance of context to the study of ethnic minority entrepreneurship. It countered the primacy of culturalist tropes, and emphasized the political, economic, sectoral and spatial contours of migrant business activity. We present a brief historical reprise, drawing in particular on the experiences of migrant entrepreneurs in the UK. The contribution of mixed embeddedness is important, but scope remains to advance the perspective, particularly by: more comparative research; foregrounding racism; an intersectional stance; and acknowledging the social function of migrant businesses.

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Financialisation and small firms: A qualitative analysis of bioscience and film and media firms

International Small Business Journal

Jane Pollard, Paul Richter, Simon Down, Monder Ram


How, if at all, does financialisation affect small firms that have no direct exposure to capital markets? This article argues the need to address this lacuna empirically, conceptually and politically drawing on research from a qualitative longitudinal analysis of UK small businesses in bio-business and film and media sectors. We identify three potential conduits through which financialising principles and practices may be perceived, translated and resisted for owners, managers and staff. More broadly, the article argues that financial relations should figure more prominently and move from their relatively marginal location into the heart of socio-economic analysis of small firms. As such, the research connects with and extends an important social science tradition of research on managerial control in small firms to include issues of financialisation and financial governance.

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