Nermin Elkafrawi received the prestigious research award at the 2018 Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Awards Ceremony

UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield researcher and PhD student Nermin Elkafrawi is in a state of euphoria, having been presented with the ISBE President’s Award for Best Paper Award by an Early Career Researcher at the 2018 ISBE Conference, held in November last year – a highly regarded honour in the field of small business enterprise.

Her research paper, titled Strong Structuration Theory: A Way to Further Contextualise Entrepreneurship Research, is about showing how to use a social theory (strong structuration theory) in investigating women entrepreneur’s phenomena.  The main contribution of this paper is to clarify how the chosen theoretical perspective can enhance contextualization in the entrepreneurship domain.

The awards ceremony, which took place in Birmingham, is held annually to honour those who excel within the highly competitive field of small business enterprise.

Nermin wasn’t alone in conducting this research, and received guidance and a helping hand throughout from two others involved with the University.  She was under the supervision of Professor of Entrepreneurship Gerard McElwee and Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship Dr Deema Refai for the duration of her research, which took the better part of a year to complete.

The team shared thoughts and ideas through a series of video calls and meet-ups.  This was not always easy – logistically, collaboration proved difficult to some extent, with Nermin being based in Egypt and Deema working and residing in Huddersfield.

Nermin acknowledged that it would not have been possible to attend the conference without funding from the University of Huddersfield, paying for flights, accommodation and part of the conference.

“It was so unbelievable to be recognised for the effort that me, Deema and Gerard put into this paper,” she said.  “I was so nervous from the moment I was told I’d be receiving the award until the moment it was announced, but it was worth it.”

Nermin obtained a degree in Business Administration and Management BA (Hons) at Egypt’s Zagazig University before further pursuing a Master’s degree in the subject.  She then temporarily moved to Huddersfield in 2015 to attend the University and undertake a PhD in Entrepreneurial Studies making this achievement all the more impressive.

Her achievement is not only significant in terms of making immediate waves in the field of entrepreneurship; it will leave an indelible legacy and hopefully inspire many more budding academics to apply their knowledge of the field to uncovering its secrets.

Nermin plans to continue with her research in this area in the future.