Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone for successful economies and key driver for social welfare. Entrepreneurs face challenges in identifying opportunities, gathering resources, and growing businesses in preparation for successful exit. The challenges are unique since entrepreneurs must work with a number of actors under extreme conditions of uncertainty where the different actor’s objectives are not always aligned with those of the entrepreneur. They usually have very limited resources, so they draw on the assistance of networks. However, most SMEs do not have the relationship management know-how for collaborative innovation without losing their competitive advantages.

Trust is a key resource for entrepreneurs to achieve their desired outcomes, it reduces harmful conflict and facilitates rapid formulation of ad hoc work groups. Distrust instead is very harmful and does not allow sustainable fruitful relationships with partners and other actors. Thus, entrepreneurs have to understand how to overcome these challenges and how to reduce distrust in their network.

Based on the results of my research, I can present toolkits to overcome the challenges of distrust and to build up trust in entrepreneurial networks worldwide. Small and medium size companies need both – contractual and trust based agreements and the latter is the challenging one!


How can I help you?

Evidence Summaries: brief and focused summaries of evidence in response to specific request about innovative collaboration in an entrepreneurial context. Focused on practical implications.

Analyses: My team and I analyze primary and secondary data from your organization with qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Evaluations: How can you overcome distrust between your enterprise and your stakeholder? Is distrust an issue in your entrepreneurial network? My team and I offer realistic and partial solutions based on our specific toolkits.

Trainings/Workshops: I offer toolkits that help to overcome the challenges of distrust in your .entrepreneurial network and to build upon innovative collaborations. My team and I bring both academic and professional experience to deliver practice support.

Collaborations: I work with academics and professional bodies across the globe. I can offer access to this network of experience or academic and business needs.

Prof. Dr. Ann-Marie Nienaber
Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behavior

Head of Research Group: Trust and Workplaces

Coventry University, United Kingdom
(Modern University of the Year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations