Professor Sue Smith

Prof. Sue Smith

Director of the Centre for SME Development

School of Business

Greenbank Building, GR312

+44 (0) 1772 89 4687

Professor Sue Smith is the Chair of the Centre for SME Development. She has an extensive track record of university business engagement. Sue began her career in the private sector in the area of market and research consultancy. Passionate about leadership in business, Sue ran many leadership development programmes and trained other institutions across the UK on how to develop leadership capabilities in SMEs.

Sue’s interests are small business and regional development and the role universities play in helping the SME sector (including the third sector) to thrive and grow.

Full Profile

Sue has an extensive track record of university business engagement. She is passionate about how people learn to lead and manage and the real impact this can have on a business. Sue has designed and taught on many leadership development and entrepreneurship programmes for diverse learners in Higher Education from undergraduates and postgraduates to post experience adult learners who do not traditionally engage with universities. Sue’s academic research focuses on two areas. The first is using social theories of learning to look at the impact of SME peer learning. The second is the relationship between universities, business and government and the impact this can have on the regional economy. Prior to working in the Higher Education sector, Sue worked in the private sector for blue-chip companies and SMEs as a Research Manager.


  • Ph.D Management, University of Lancaster, 2011


  1. Barnes, S., Kempster, S. and Smith, S. (2015) Leading Small Business: Business Growth through Leadership Development, Edward Elgar
  2. Smith, S and Kempster, S (2019) In whose interest? Exploring care ethics within transformative learning , Management Learning (In press)
  3. Smith, S., Kempster, S., & Wenger-Trayner, E. (2019). Developing a Program Community of Practice for Leadership Development. Journal of Management Education, 43(1), 62–88. 
  4. Howorth, C., Smith, S., Parkinson, C., (2012) “Social Learning and Social Entrepreneurship Education Academy of Management Learning and Education, vol 11, Issue 3, pp. 371 – 389


  • Addressing the Productivity Gap in Lancashire. Contract research for the Local Enterprise Agenda
  • The Lancashire Forum Creative. ERDF project. Leadership Development for SMEs

External Affiliations

  • Non executive director, Shared Future CIC
  • Co-editor, Journal of Action Learning, Research & Practice


  • Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE)
  • Engage HEI
  • British Academy of Management