PHD Researcher Sherif Youssef is using the Centre of Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Studies (CEES) at Leeds University Business School (LUBS) as part of his base for his social impact and policy study.
Sherif splits his time between CEES at Leeds University Business School, and the School of Sociology and Social Policy writing his PHD and engaging with different practitioners to carry out impact-based research that benefits ordinary people.
The right home for research
After studying his first Masters degree at Lancaster University, Sherif came to Leeds to explore more about social problems in modern society surrounding different families, communities and identity groups.
CEES at LUBS felt like the right place for my doctoral research
‘I knew I would be able to explore how business decisions ultimately have societal impact. How can you be successful in business without understanding social policy and wider public policies? How can you launch a product or service without understanding its wider implications? CEES at LUBS gives me the home to study those questions.’
Sherif’s research project How do social enterprises emerge a civic need within the emerging markets? began with looking at social enterprises in Egypt, analysing how non-profits become businesses and play a role in the country’s development. Yet recent years have seen him engage intensively with local enterprise in Leeds. ‘Of course, Leeds is a very different place to Egypt,’ confirms Sherif. ‘Yet there are many parallels, such as economic development and barriers to finance. Understanding social impact and enterprise in the region, and how it drives the economy forward, has been integral to my research.’
Conducting studies at CEES at LUBS has provided Sherif with a wider network through which to continue his research. ‘Being here has opened many doors for me,’ says Sherif. ‘I’ve had the support of the Business School itself in conjunction with Leeds Social Science Institute and Leeds City Council. Mutual introductions have helped me organise workshops and conferences that I’d otherwise have been unable to do.’
Working across both CEES at LUBS and the School of Sociology and Social Policy has been both a benefit and, at times, a challenge for Sherif. ‘There are some differing ideas,’ admits Sherif. ‘Yet these dual perspectives have been invaluable to my studies. Considering enterprise in conjunction with lower-paid jobs and unequal political systems has given me a great dual viewpoint and strengthened my own position.’
Being at the University of Leeds has propelled Sherif’s research. ‘Leeds deserves more investment: there’s a lot of work to be done,’ he admits. ‘I want my research to have a lasting effect on schools, jobs and healthcare provisions in the city. Having an impact is the essence of research, and I want to make a change to the place where we live, work and study: the city of Leeds.’