Staff profile

Mark Gilman

Professor of Economics

A picture of a man speaking


Economics and Finance


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Business Engagement & Employability





I am Professor of Economics with responsibilities within the University of Derby Regional Economic Observatory whose purpose is to build a robust evidence base to inform economic and social policy deliberations, engage with people and businesses and produce analysis to support engagement with national government policy. My focus is on the areas of SME performance and growth and Human Resource Management.

Having caught the ‘learning bug’, I transferred from industry to academia qualifying as a mature student in the 1990s. Having spent 18 years working in engineering I found myself completing an economics degree and then a master's and PhD at Warwick Business School. My thirst for knowledge led me to explore how to apply my industrial and academic experience for the benefit of academic and business communities.

My work is focused on developing people and performance. People are the drivers and backbone of all organisations, and the economy. If we get this right we start to make a significant contribution to all of our lives. I start all my work by developing world-class research on personal and organisational growth and performance and then translate it into tools and services that help business owner manager(s) and their staff to understand the dynamics of the organisation, its stakeholders, and wider growth and performance issues.

I continue to research and publish extensively on SME Growth and Human Resource Management issues faced by business owners and their organisations. I was Director of the Centre for Employment Competitiveness and Growth, University of Kent and the Centre for Enterprise, Innovation and Growth at Birmingham City University. I am also Co-founder and Director of BIG Associates Ltd (A University spin-out).

Teaching responsibilities

In the past, I have taught in the areas of HRM, SME growth and entrepreneurship. More recently most of my teaching and development is with entrepreneurs and their businesses. As a trusted and accredited practitioner, I have developed and delivered a range of leadership and executive programmes and networks, coaching, facilitation, action learning and consultancy interventions with individuals and organisations of all shapes and sizes, all with the aim of helping them improve their performance. These products include The BIG Journey, The BIG Network, The BIG Toolkit, and The BIG Diagnostic.

I am an active PhD supervisor and I welcome applications from potential doctoral students in the areas of understanding SME growth, development and productivity

Research interests

My research interests revolve around understanding the context and dynamics of SME performance and growth.

I have developed a multidisciplinary research model - Promoting sustainable performance - which has been utilised in the UK, France, China, Canada and Indonesia. From this research process, I have also developed a number of practical diagnostics and interventions for ambitious owner managers and their employees

Membership of professional bodies


Experience in industry

I have worked in industry and academia for the last 40 years engaging with businesses of all sizes including Boots PLC, Barclays Bank, British Airways and a number of public sector organisation. More recently, I have been impacting the growth of 1000s of SMEs through research and coaching interventions for ambitious business owners.

International experience

I have carried extensive research in France, Canada and Indonesia working with local universities, policy makers, business associations and businesses. 

Recent publications