About myself. I believe being a creative and enthusiast lecturer with the prime for learning. I consider myself being a free-thinker. Sociable in nature, I have a passion for cooking and travelling. I think my knowledge of different languages and cultures made of me a good communicator.
My education. I graduated with a BSc in Management from the University of Turin (Italy) where I studied an intetesting mix of subjects ranging from supply chain management, operations, statistics to sociology, marketing and organisational theory.
I furthered my studies with a BA in Business Administration from Robert Gordon University (Scotland) where I had the chance to study interesting subjects such as marketing, entrepreneurship and business planning.
Finally, I received my PhD in Entrepreneurial Marketing from University of Kent (England), thanks to an exciting scholarship funded by the Scottish Government, which allowed me to work side-by-side with Scottish food and drink SMEs, Tesco suppliers, Scottish development agencies and food networks, as well as Tesco Clubcard managing firm dunnhumby for a period of three-four years.
Membership to professional bodies. I am a currently Reader at Westminster Business School and operate in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, and marketing. I am a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK. I have been for several years also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM) and am currently a Member of the Marketing Science Institute (MSI).
Under my leadership as course leader on the MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Enterprise Development our university became a Corporate member of ISBE (Institute for Small Businesses and Enterprise), extending this right to all members on my master programme.
My external engagement. I engage externally to the university in different ways. For instance, I am visiting professor at Tsinghua University (Beijing) since 2016 and University of Science and Technology of China (中国科学技术大学) since 2011.
Research-wise, I am on the editorial (advisory) board of Technological Forecasting and Social Change, as well as Journal of Business Research, 3* ABS-listed publications.
I am a member of different bodies, for instance I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM), a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (FRSS) and a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) in the UK.
External engagement achievements. As part of my work at University of Westminster (and partly as an entrepreneur), I have been coaching start-up founders and social entrepreneurs and by following their development I became familiar with the major threats and hurdles in setting up and running a social enterprise and in engaging with social innovation. I have experience in engaging with innovative start-ups with a social mission when I became a judge on the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme in 2019, where I had to make recommendations for funding of innovative and sustainable start-ups for an aggregate value of approx. £85k. However, my experience in supporting and mentoring businesses is not limited to that. I am a coach on an accelerator’s programme that specialises in high-tech start-ups, providing ad-hoc support to start-up founders who want to explore different elements of their business models.
I have experience in coordinating my team of six staff (lecturers, senior lecturers, part-time visiting lecturers, and another reader) in supporting students’ experience by teaching them how to raise funds via fundraising activities for a charitable purpose and crowdfunding to fund their initial steps towards the launch of their companies. These staff-initiated students-lead experiments with fundraising resulted in raising an average of £4,000 annually. Although this may not be impressive as an amount per se, it validates the effectiveness of the fundraising techniques taught to the students, who generally have only a couple of days to raise that amount of money. Out of the classroom context, I have been sitting on panels and made recommendations to investors about start-ups potential and business models development both in the UK and abroad.
Amongst other activities, I collaborate with a Chinese investment firm specialised in robotics to scout for robotics, edtech, and mechatronics start-ups for potential series A and B funding through a selection of incubators and accelerators in Europe. Finally, in 2018 I had the opportunity to have my biggest experience in the assessment of the viability of commercial projects by working as a European Expert making recommendations for funding two consortia projects for a total value of approx. €12m.
Research-wise, I possess a track record for high quality publications, and this is demonstrated by my achievements. I currently have high well-cited papers published in 3* ABS listed journals (or SJR=Q1) with impact factor. In the REF2021 (UK Research Excellent Framework) I am one of only three members of staff (out of 51) at Westminster Business School who was able to submit 5 x 3* publications, contributing massively to the University research income.
I currently collaborate with several universities in different countries, including Spain (Universidad Pública de Navarra, Universidad de Salamanca and Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona), France (ESG School of Management Grandes Ecoles, Paris), NUI National University of Ireland (Republic of Ireland), University of Bologna (Italy) and China (Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, University of Science and Technology of China).
My research focuses mostly on China as a context. With regards to China, I have a special relationship with this Country. I hold a visiting position at University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), which is the 3rd most important University in China and it is ranked amongst the top 180 most important universities in the world, by THE World University Rankings. With my visiting position I have the opportunity to access data to conduct research in my main research areas. I also hold a visiting position at Tsinghua University, at the governmental Think Tank ‘Centre for Research on Technological Innovation’.
My research gives me some recognition around the world, with different private and public bodies (including other Academic establishments) who have invited me to deliver seminars and keynote speeches, although not all my work has been currently published.
My research areas or interests, which are truly interdisciplinary, are broadly categorised in (i) Innovation, (ii) Entrepreneurship, (iii) Marketing and (iv) Sociological Institutionalism. Although these are my main areas, I currently have some papers in the area of supply chain management as ad-hoc projects I worked on as part of some inter-university collaborations and my background in value chain management. My interdisciplinary approach allows me to publish successfully contributing to a variety of literature streams in renowned academic journals.
Within those main themes of my research, the main sub-themes my research focuses on are: regional innovation systems, the triple and quadruple helix, social innovation, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems, small businesses internationalisation, radical institutional change, organisational and marketing capabilities, technology use in the learning organisation.
I currently supervise two PhD students on topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Another PhD student got her doctorate awarded in 2020 with a study on accelerators’ internationalising role in the Finnish edtech sector, which will put the basis for some follow-up studies in 2021.