Professor Eleanor Shaw

  • Head of School, Professor (Adam Smith Business School)

pronouns: She/her/hers

Import to contacts


A values-led, inclusive entrepreneurial leader with more than 25 years’ experience of working with entrepreneurs, complimented by a portfolio of entrepreneurship research that has informed the design and delivery of entrepreneurial education, influenced entrepreneurial policy, and guided the development of successful growth interventions which have supported the scale up of numerous Scottish ventures. Eleanor is a senior leader within the Higher Education sector and is passionate about using her knowledge, expertise, and networks to unlock entrepreneurial potential across Scotland’s economy. She holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Glasgow and was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List 2022 for her services to Entrepreneurship and Education.

Eleanor holds a number of board and external appointments including, she sits on the Executive Board of the Adam Smith Business School and College Management Group, University of Glasgow, on the boards of the Beatson Cancer Charity, the Chartered Association of Business Schools and the Small Business Charter. She also sits on the People, Talent & Leadership Committee of the ScaleUp Institute and on the STER Academic Advisory Group.

Research Funding, Outputs, and Impact

Her research on entrepreneurial growth, ecosystems and diversity has attracted funding of more than £300M from Research Councils, private sector, Enterprise Agencies, and international partners. She publishes in all leading peer-reviewed entrepreneurship journals and works with entrepreneurs and partner organisations to translate the implications of her research into viable entrepreneurial policies and practical growth solutions.

Professor Eleanor Shaw is globally recognised for her research on the resources needed to establish and grow entrepreneurial ventures. Her research identified the unequal access to entrepreneurial resources experienced by under-represented founders, including female entrepreneurs; revealed the long term, detrimental impact of this under-capitalisation on the growth of their firms; and highlighted the loss of GDP and job creation experienced by the UK economy as a consequence.  As an engaged researcher, Eleanor has dedicated her career to producing high quality research that is: funded by prestigious research councils (more than £6M); published in globally leading journals; used to inform innovations in impactful entrepreneurial education; and to advise on entrepreneurial policies and interventions.

Her research informed the UK Government’s Enterprise Strategy (2008) and the subsequent introduction of a £12.5million capital co-investment fund for women (Aspire Co-Investment Fund, 2009). In a further study, her research provided evidence for the Women’s Enterprise Taskforce (2007-2009), set up by HM Treasury & BIS to advise on supporting growth-oriented women-led UK ventures. The impact of this research is detailed in a Case Study submitted to the 2014 UK Government Research Excellence Framework (REF).  Eleanor’s research has continued to inform the framing of enterprise policy and has  informed the independent review of women’s enterprise in Scotland (Pathways, February, 2023), the Rose Review,  and The Gender Index (TGI).

Her research informed the design and delivery of the Growth Advantage Programme (GAP) - a practise-focused enterprise education programme which develops the leadership capacity of founders, supporting the scale-up of their ventures.  Since 2015, under her leadership, GAP has supported 6 cohorts of 93 founders to successfully scale their firms, and GAP has been endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute as the only Scottish, and only one of two growth programmes offered by a UK university. Details of the research underpinning GAP and its impact on the broader Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem are captured in the ImpactCaseStudy submitted to REF (2021). In 2019 Eleanor initiated the development of the only institution-wide entrepreneurship strategy of any Scottish University and one of a handful of UK Higher Education Institutions. Branded as Strathclyde Inspire, the cornerstones of this strategy are to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of students and staff through exposure to entrepreneurial learning experiences, and entrepreneurial role models, and crucially for academic researchers, to support the  commercialisation of their innovations. Since its launch, Inspire has annually doubled the number of spinouts and licenses, invested in more than 22 new ventures, and is currently supporting 118 early-stage innovation-driven ventures.

In addition to her work with the ScaleUp of Institute and The Gender Index, Eleanor is an elected member of the Chartered Association of Business School’s Council and sits on the Board of the Small Business Charter. She led the analysis undertaken for the recent Stewart Review (Scottish Government’s Independent Analysis of Women’s underrepresentation in Business Ownership) and informed the recommendations set out in this. Eleanor has had a long-term affiliation with ISBE and since the late 1990s has served on the ISBE board and established and contributed to a number of its Special Interest Groups.

Eleanor also has a long-established record of engagement in voluntary service, with current board positions in the Beatson Cancer Charity and Enable and previous positions at Impact Arts and Glasgow Women’s Aid, all passionate areas of interest.

Across her career Eleanor has mentored, advocated for, supported and amplified female leadership within the HE sector and beyond. For example, she was integral to implementing the Strathclyde Leading Forward lecture series in 2019, in collaboration with the Royal Bank of Scotland, using her passion for diversity and achieving equity for women entrepreneurs and leaders to make the lecture series a success.  As the most senior female academic on the University of Strathclyde’s Executive Team, she has evidenced the respect of her peers and become a role model in the field, in part due to her pragmatic and upbeat but principled and impactful leadership style. Eleanor very recently was appointed (August 2023) Head of the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, a position that makes her the first ever female Head of the School.


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Sahasranamam, S. , Lall, S. , Nicolopoulou, K. and Shaw, E. (2024) Founding team entrepreneurial experience, external financing and social enterprise performance. British Journal of Management, 35(1), pp. 519-536. (doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12726)

This list was generated on Sun Feb 25 10:09:29 2024 GMT.
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Number of items: 1.


Sahasranamam, S. , Lall, S. , Nicolopoulou, K. and Shaw, E. (2024) Founding team entrepreneurial experience, external financing and social enterprise performance. British Journal of Management, 35(1), pp. 519-536. (doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12726)

This list was generated on Sun Feb 25 10:09:29 2024 GMT.

Additional information

Public Service and Trustee Appointments

Public Service Appointments
  • 2022 - The Gender Index, Strategic Advisory Board Member
  • 2022 - The Stewart Review of Women’s’ Enterprise in Scotland, Expert Advisor
  • 2022 - 2023 Scottish Funding Council, Supporting PG Researchers, Expert Advisor
  • 2022 - QAA Standards SBS Business & Management, Expert Advisor
  • 2021 - Scottish Tech Ecosystem Review Academic Reference Group, Expert Advisor
  • 2021 - Open UK, Open Technology for Sustainability Strategy, Advisory Board Member              
  • 2020 - University of Warwick, RE-Wage, Expert Research Advisor (Entrepreneurship)  
  • 2019 - Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS), Elected Member of Council    
  • 2018 - University of Surrey School of Management, External REF reviewer                        
  • 2018 - 2021 University of Leicester School of Business, External REF reviewer
  • 2018 - FinTec Scotland Strategic Partners Board Member                                    
  • 2018 - Small Business Charter (SBC), Board Member
  • 2017 Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, British Academy and Academy of Medical Sciences: ‘Role of Entrepreneurship Education in STEM Subjects’, Expert Advisor
  • 2017 Scottish Government, Economy, Jobs & Fair Work Committee: ‘Inquiry into Scotland’s Economic Performance’, Expert Witness
  • 2017 - 2019 Scottish Funding Council, ScaleUp Leadership Advisory Panel, Expert Advisor
  • 2017 - 2018 University of Leicester, Cultural & Media Economies Research Institute, Board Member
  • 2017 - ScaleUp Institute Taskforce Group on Leadership Skills and Access to Talent, Expert Advisor
  • 2016 - 2017 ScaleUp Institute Building Leadership Capacity Group, Expert Advisor
  • 2016 - 2019 Santander Universities Network, Board Member
Trustee appointments
  • 2022 - Enable Scotland                                                                                                                       
  • 2019 - Beatson Cancer Charity                                                                                                        
  • 2012-2016 Foundation Scotland Impact & Innovation Committee          
  • 2011-2014 Impact Arts