India and South Asia Business Centre

Commonwealth Research Network on International Business (CRN-IB)

CRN-IB was established at a special session during the Annual European International Business Conference in Brighton in 2012. It aims to bring together and strengthen relationships and dialogue between academic, businesses and policy making bodies working on and in Commonwealth countries.

Founding members

  • Professor Peter Buckley, Founder Director of the Centre for International Business, University of Leeds
  • Dr Surender Munjal, University of Leeds
  • Dr Mohammad Razzaque, Former Adviser and Head, International Trade Policy Section, Trade Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Arif Zaman, faculty, Henley Business School, University of Reading and then Adviser, Commonwealth Business Council

Honorary President: Lord Howell, latterly Commonwealth Minister 2010-2012 and a former Secretary of State for Energy and Transport.

About

Based at the James E. Lynch India and South Asia Business Centre (ISABC), University of Leeds (under the directorship of  Dr Surender Munjal) and the Centre for Research and Enterprise (under the directorship of Dr Nnamdi Madichie, Editor, African Journal of Business and Economic Research), London School of Business and Management, Bloomsbury, the CRN-IB works with the Commonwealth Secretariat and organisations working on trade and investment related issues of the Commonwealth countries. It has held several panel sessions at Academy of International Business (AIB) conferences. The last panel discussion was held at the 46th AIB-UKI Conference hosted by the University of Sussex, Brighton in April 2019.

At the AIB conference hosted by the Copenhagen Business School in June 2019 deliberations on launching the ‘Commonwealth Centre on International Business and Entrepreneurship (CCIBE)’ took place with the AIB Chapter Chairs from India, Oceania, Africa with others there from Pakistan, Tanzania and the UK.

CRN-IB at the AIB Conference 2019

Caption: CRN-IB at the AIB Conference, Copenhagen Business School, 26th June 2019

The CRN-IB brings together academic, businesses and policy making bodies working on Commonwealth countries, providing niche networking opportunities to individuals and organizations interested in international business in Commonwealth countries. Over time the network has evolved a strong research agenda that covers different units of analysis ranging from macro- (country), to meso- (firm), to micro- (individual) levels.

Research agends

Entrepreneurship and International Business within the Commonwealth context is particularly important as Commonwealth includes 14 Least Developed countries (LDCs), 30 Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs), 17 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, 4 South Asian Regional Members, 10 Caribbean and 11 Pacific island states with over 2.4 billion people - with 60% under the age of 30 and 43% of the poorest women. This community accounts for 20%+ of world trade and many of the fastest growing economies in the world today, all within a common legal and linguistic infrastructure resulting in reduced trade costs of 19% between member states. Intra-Commonwealth trade is still estimated to increase from $600bn to $1.8tn by 2020.

Identified impacts and outcomes of CRN-IB include promoting effective participation of the poorest and most vulnerable countries (e.g. LDCs, SSA, and small states) in global trade and business and investment flows through providing informed inputs, policy-relevant analyses and recommendations and assessments of emerging developments; facilitating the exchange of ideas between researchers, the business community and policymakers including from the diaspora; and championing the interests of the LDCs, SSA and small states (especially members of the Commonwealth) in support of growth and economic development and a more inclusive agenda.

Several areas have been identified for increased research collaboration and impact including (a) Global Value Chains; (b) IB in/from emerging economies; (c) Internationalisation of SMEs and international entrepreneurship including the diaspora and women; (d) IB and cities; and (e) IB history.

Along with the general capacity-related challenges of many poor and small vulnerable economies, the CRN-IB initiative particularly acknowledges the ever-growing participation of Commonwealth countries in the Global Value Chains (GVCs), business and investment linkages within the Commonwealth countries, and the importance of North-South trade (the UK can broker and tap more directly post-Brexit) which makes international business and entrepreneurship more inclusive in nature so that the poorest and vulnerable countries can benefit from it.

In the wake of Brexit, the establishment of the Commonwealth Trade Ministerial Forum in which the private sector plays a key role and increasing change to the international business environment, CRN-IB has increased its activities from September 2017 to help shape a forward agenda. These include promoting greater coordination and collaboration with AIB chapters in Commonwealth countries (including AIB SSA, MENA and India) including research students; the involvement of diaspora business and academic networks; and the participation of those on Commonwealth Scholarships and Chevening Scholars and with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Impacts and outcomes

Identified impacts and outcomes of CRN-IB include promoting effective participation of the poorest and most vulnerable countries (eg LDCs, SSA, and small states) in global trade and business and investment flows through providing informed inputs, policy-relevant analyses  and recommendations and assessments of emerging developments; facilitating the exchange of ideas between researchers, the business community and policymakers including from the diaspora; and championing the interests of the LDCs, SSA and small states (especially members of the Commonwealth) in support of growth and economic development and a more inclusive agenda.

Areas for increased collaboration

Several areas have been identified for increased collaboration, which include Global Value Chains; IB in/from the emerging economies; Internationalisation of SMEs and international entrepreneurship including the diaspora and women; IB and cities; and IB history.

CRN-IB will be increasing its activities to help shape a forward agenda. These will include promoting greater coordination and collaboration with AIB chapters in Commonwealth countries (including AIB SSA, MENA and India) including research students; the involvement of diaspora business and academic networks; and the participation of those on Commonwealth Scholarships and Chevening Scholars and with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.