Dr Maria Granados

Dr Maria Granados

Maria is a Senior Lecturer, researcher, knowledge manager and social enterprise consultant with experience in the private, social economy and academic sectors. After having worked as knowledge management practitioner for five years in combination with consultancy work with the private sector and  social economy organisations in Colombia, she has started her academic career in UK as a researcher and senior lecturer in social enterprises, social innovation, knowledge management, informal entrepreneurship, marginalised social groups and sustainability.


  • PhD Business Information Management and Operations, University of Westminster, UK
  • MEng Industrial Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • BEng Industrial Engineering, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Maria believes in doing research that matters, which drives forward businesses and societal transformation. Maria labelled herself as a social impact and community-engaged scholar, researching social innovation, social enterprises, community-based enterprises, marginalised entrepreneurship and institutional entrepreneurship. Her work addresses the call towards an innovative entrepreneurial inclusion of marginalised communities, which has led her to focus on the crucial role of institutions in enabling/constraining these groups through power relations and their innovative initiatives to create social change.

She co-leads the Labour Migration Research Group and has projects in Brazil, Colombia and the UK exploring social enterprises, social innovations, community-based enterprises, barefoot and informal entrepreneurship, waste pickers, economically marginalised migrants, and spiral economy. Most recently, she was awarded funding from the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust (2019, £10k) to explore the struggles of waste pickers in the Colombian informal economy to inform policy and practice. As a result of this project, she was able to help waste pickers to present their case to policymakers, media and international audiences. She was asked to act as a technical witness at the State Court of Colombia in March 2021 in the case of waste picker associations against the Colombian government to evidence the struggles of marginalised entrepreneurs (waste pickers) in the waste market.

PhD supervision interest:

Maria welcomes the opportunity to work with PhD students from various backgrounds and disciplines who would like to embark on a PhD. She would especially encourage applicants to use a critical theoretical framework and innovative research approaches.

  • Social entrepreneurial and social innovation practices
  • Informal and collective entrepreneurship
  • Barefoot, marginalised entrepreneurs, innovations and their challenges
  • Entrepreneurship as a poverty reduction strategy

Current PhD Students:

  • Fabiane da Cruz 'Social responsibility through the lens of mainstream businesses and social enterprises toward vulnerable migrant population in Brazil' (Director of studies - First supervisor)

PhD Supervision Completions:

  • Dr Marco Cuvero 'The Effects of Knowledge Spillovers, Incubators and Accelerator Programmes on the Product Innovation of High-Tech Start-Ups: A Mixed Methods Approach'  Awarded 2020 (Director of studies - First supervisor)
  • Dr Irma Mäkäräinen-Suni 'Innovative digital start-ups and their venture creation process with enabling digital platforms'  Awarded 2021 (Second supervisor)

  • Labour Migration Research Group

In brief

Research areas

Social innovation, Social enterprise - Social entrepreneurship, Informal entrepreneurship, Innovation and creativity, Latin America and Migration - Labour migration

Supervision interests

Social innovation, social entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, informal entrepreneurship and Knowledge Management, Innovation Management, Open Innovation