Call for papers: Entrepreneurial Finance for Green Innovative SMEs

IEEE Transactions on


Special Issue: Entrepreneurial Finance for Green Innovative SMEs

Guest Editors

Dr Robyn Owen, Middlesex University Business School,

Dr Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, Dublin City University,

Professor Javed Ghulam Hussain, Birmingham City University,

Dr Yannis Pierrakis, Kingston University,

Dr Tiago Botelho, University of East Anglia,

Dr Geraldine Brennan, Middlesex University Business School,


Environmental issues first surfaced in 1972, at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The recent COP24 Katowice Climate Change conference highlighted the increasingly urgent need to operationalise the Paris 2015 agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that climate change does not peak beyond 2C above pre-industrial levels (to avoid the level beyond which catastrophic change may occur; Climate Focus, 2015). Mitigation steps are many and varied and include national and transnational programmes (e.g. World Bank and European Union) to fund new innovative green industry circular economy solutions (Owen et al, 2018; Rizos et al, 2016) and encourage private sector investment to achieve a socio-environmental just transition (GRICC, 2018).

Whilst considerable focus has been on government programmes to fund larger scale projects (e.g. renewable energy and infrastructure), such as through public backed Green Investment Banks, alongside policies to encourage businesses energy efficiency, far less attention has been given to addressing the green innovation patient capital gap facing early stage small businesses (Owen et al, 2018; McDaniels and Robins, 2017; Rowlands, 2009). Since there are strong arguments that small businesses play a significant role in disruptive technological innovation, addressing their financing needs is arguably crucial to support the Paris agreement (Owen et al, 2018; Bak, 2017; Lee et al, 2015; Lerner, 2010). Furthermore, Magnusson and Berggren (2018) argue that governments need to support innovation at lower technology readiness (TRL) levels, which may be far from commercial readiness and encourage traditional and new sources of entrepreneurial finance into this space. Ultimately, this can provide the best opportunity for optimal technological solutions to addressing climate change.

The technology based small firms financing needs (North et al, 2013) and their effect on climate change is under researched (Owen et al, 2018; Elena et al, 2018; McDaniels and Robins, 2017). This calls for greater attention to be given to the range of new technology influences which incorporate digital software and AI smart solutions and advanced engineering activities to develop and harness clean/greentech sectors such as energy, recycling, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure (WEF, 2018). Building on a broad range of debates previously addressed in IEEE transactions on engineering management (e.g. Zhang et al, 2019, Bailey and Tatikonda, 2018), we aim to address the nexus of technology management, engineering management and the resourcing of innovative technologies.

We welcome original paper contributions that showcase the interplay of policy and contemporary new innovative forms of entrepreneurial finance for early stage green innovative SMEs. The Special Issue therefore seeks to contribute to theory and practical development in the field of early stage green innovative SME finance (Block et al. 2017; Bocken, 2015).

Authors may consider – but not be limited to – the following:

  • Innovative public policies to finance green SME innovation, particularly for early stage long horizon R&D projects.
  • International dimensions in scaling-up public policy initiatives to address early stage green innovation finance gaps.
  • Private sector innovations (e.g. fintechs, blockchain, crowdfunding, impact investors, green bonds) as an alternative finance which are impacting on green innovation in SMEs.
  • Case studies of early stage innovative green venture financing.
  • Development of green financing ecosystems and socio-environmental just transition involving small and community based innovative green businesses.
  • Financing circular economy solutions.
  • How do traditional and new sources of entrepreneurial finance make investment decisions in green innovative opportunities.

Notes for Prospective Authors:

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper.

Manuscripts should be submitted through the publisher’s online system. Submissions will be reviewed according to the journal’s rigorous standards and procedures through double-blind peer review by at least two qualified reviewers.

Submission Process:

Please prepare the manuscript according to IEEE-TEM’s guidelines ( and submit to the journal’s Manuscript Central site ( Please clearly state in the cover letter that the submission is for this special issue.


Deadline for full paper first submission: 31st December, 2020

Note: All abstracts and manuscript copies for conferences should be emailed to Dr Robyn Owen, guest editor for the conference and IEEE journal special issue:



Bailey, J., Tatikonda, M.V. (2018) Accelerating Venture Milestone Achievement: Examining the Impact of Resource Acquisition Timing. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 557-573, Nov. 2018. doi: 10.1109/TEM.2018.2859753


Bak, C. (2017) Generating Growth from Innovating the Low Carbon Economy: Exploring Safeguards in Finance and Regulation. Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Working Paper 117, January, Waterloo, Canada. Available from:


Block, J.H, Colombo, M.G, Cumming, D.J, and Vismara, S. (2017) New players in entrepreneurial finance and why they are there. Small Business Economics, published online January 17th DOI 10.1007/s11187-016-9826-6


Bocken, N.M.P. (2015) Sustainable Venture Capital – Catalyst for Sustainable Start-up Success? Journal of Cleaner Production, 108, 647-658


Climate Focus (2015) The Paris Agreement Summary. CliateFocus client brief on Paris Agreement III, 28/12/2015.


Verdolini, E, Bak, C, Ruet, J, and Venkatachalam, A. (2018) Innovative green-technology SMEs as an opportunity to promote financial de-risking. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2018-8, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

GRICC (2018) Climate change and the just transition: A guide for investor action. Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, London School of Economics, London

Lee, N, Sameen, H. and Cowling, M. (2015) Access to finance for innovative SMEs since the financial crisis. Research Policy, 44(2), pp.370-380.

Lerner, J. (2010) The Future of Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Small Business Economics, 35 (3): 255-264.

Magusson, T, and Berggren, C. (2018) Competing innovation systems and the need for sustainable redeployment in sustainable transition. Technology Forecasting and Social Change Vol.126(C ):217-230

McDaniels, J. and Robins, N. (2017) Mobilizing Green Finance for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the G7. UN Environment Inquiry: Design of a Sustainable Financial System.

North, D, Baldock, R, and Ullah, F, (2013) Funding the growth of UK technology-based small firms since the financial crash: are there breakages in the finance escalator? Venture Capital 15(3): 237-260

Owen, R, Brennan, G, and Lyon, F. (2018) Enabling investment for the transition to a low carbon economy: Government policy to finance early stage green innovation.  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Vol.31: 137-145

Rizos, V., Behrens, A., van der Gaast, W., Hofman, E., Ioannou, A., Kafyeke, T., Flamos, A., Rinaldi, R., Papadelis, S., Hirschnitz-Garbers, M., and Topi, C. (2016) Implementation of circular economy business models by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Barriers and enablers. Sustainability. 8, 11, 1212. Doi:10.3390/su8111212

Rowlands, C. (2009) The Provision of Growth Capital to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. Report for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Crown Copyright, Richmond, London, November ISBN 9780115155253

WEF (2018) Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for the Earth. PwC and Stanford Woods Institute, Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth Series report for the World Economic Forum (WEF), January, Geneva

Zhang, M., Tse, Y.K., Dai, J., and Chan, H.K. (2019) Examining Green Supply Chain Management and Financial Performance: Roles of Social Control and Environmental Dynamism. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 20-34, Feb. 2019. doi: 10.1109/TEM.2017.2752006

Guest Editor bios

Dr Robyn Owen is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University. Robyn is also Co-chair of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Special Interest Group in Entrepreneurial Finance and a Research Fellow at the ESRC Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity. Her research focuses on the financing of early stage innovative businesses and has included a number of scoping studies and evaluations of national and regional finance programmes for the British Business Bank, UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK. She has edited special issues in Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance and Strategic Change: Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance journals and currently serves on the editorial board of Venture Capital.

Dr Ciarán Mac an Bhaird is Associate Professor of Business and Management in Dublin City University, Ireland. His research and teaching interests include resourcing the small firm economy, enterprise policy, and innovations in entrepreneurial finance.  He is the author of ‘Resourcing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises’ (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2010), which was launched by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.  He is the founding director of UStart, Ireland’s first business start-up accelerator for undergraduate students, and he participated in the International Visitor Leadership Programme of the U.S. Department of State. He is also co-chair of an international Entrepreneurial Finance Special Interest Group (ISBE).

Professor Javed Ghulam Hussain is Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance at Birmingham City Business School, Birmingham City University. Javed is a member of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Special Interest Group in Entrepreneurial Finance and Head of Accounting, Finance and Economics Research Group at Birmingham City University.  His research interests are mainly in the domain of financing for SMEs and microfinance. Professor Hussain has published widely in international peer-reviewed journals and at national/international conferences. He has experience of co-editing special edition of peer-reviewed journals and hosts regularly Entrepreneurial Finance Conferences and symposiums.  He has experience of working with private (Forward Trust, HSBC) and public sector (Birmingham City Council) organization in the West Midland Council before joining Birmingham City University in 1990.

Dr Yannis Pierrakis is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management and Associate Member of the Small Business Research Centre (SBRC) at Kingston Business School, Kingston University. His research focuses on entrepreneurial finance, including venture capital, crowdfunding and digital assets (ICOs and STOs).  He has also worked for the World Bank’s Climate Innovation Centers program, which supports innovative ventures that are developing innovative solutions to address climate change challenges through mentoring, facilities, and seed funding. Prior to joining academia, Yannis worked as Head of Investments Research at Nesta, the UK innovation foundation.   

Dr Tiago Botelho is a Lecturer in Business Strategy at the University of East Anglia. He holds a PhD in Management at the University of Glasgow on the topic of business angel investing criteria. Tiago has published in several academic journals: International Small Business Journal, Social Economic Review, Strategic Change, Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance and European Planning Studies. His research interests are in business angel investment decision-making and in the domain of financing decisions for start-ups.

Dr Geraldine Brennan is an Enterprise and Sustainability Research Fellow, at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development (CEEDR), Middlesex University Business School, London, U.K. Geraldine also holds a Visiting Lecturer post at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London and is an ESRC Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) Research Fellow. Her work focuses on the intersection of entrepreneurship, new venture finance and systems change, in the context of sustainable and circular business model innovation.

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is journal of the Technology and Engineering Management Society of IEEE, published quarterly since 1954. It is dedicated to the publication of peer-reviewed original contributions, by researchers and practitioners, regarding the theory and practice of engineering, technology, and innovation management.

Editor in Chief

Tugrul U Daim, PhD PICMET Fellow

Professor and Director

Technology Management Doctoral Program

Department of Engineering and Technology Management

Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science

Portland State University, Portland OR

United States

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