Dr. Seemab Farooqi, University of Dundee School of Business

Introducing new Can Do Partner Dr. Seemab Farooqi, Professor of HR & Entrepreneurship at the University of Dundee….

Hi Seemab, welcome to Can Do! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?:

I have always been interested in engaging with the public sector. Before joining academia I worked with the Canadian International Development Agency and while I was there, I was engaged in their capacity building workshops, across multiple local councils. It was interacting with public servants, and local councillors, that gave me the inspiration to work on examining how public services are delivered and the role of frontline bureaucracy in policy making.

That is where my journey in academia started, at Stirling University. I did my PhD in Public Sector Management there and worked with some fantastic people. Then I moved to Loughborough University, because I was thinking of moving my family to England. However, I missed Scotland too much.

I came back to Scotland and started working within Dundee university. I was inspired by its focus on transforming lives and making an impact. I worked in the corporate sector before joining academia but it never gave me the satisfaction, the way working in academia gives me.

About your role at the University of Dundee?

I’m a Human Resource Management lecturer, however, I also teach entrepreneurship at postgraduate level. My research interests are in contemporary Public Policy Management reforms, strategy, gender and entrepreneurship. I also teach change management at the university with the third year and fourth year undergraduate students. And I’m the equality, diversity and inclusion coordinator for the Business School.

We really want to make the Business School a more inclusive place. For example, we have proposed to run a webinar panel discussion on digitalization and the issues associated with equality, diversity and inclusion. We have proposed to the search committee that we should run this seminar and invite fintechs from developing countries like Pakistan, and fintechs from Scotland. We also have proposed to invite policymakers and various agencies and academics from within UK and EU. Because the whole idea of this panel discussion is to help all these players network with each other, creating the connections between academics and industry.

What motivated you to become a Scotland Can Do Partner?

I came to know about the Can Do because I met Tom Craig, who works in the Enterprise Team at The Scottish Government. I attended an impact series seminar he was talking at, sharing how academics can engage with the civil servants and people who are in the government. I was doing a research paper on Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem so we talked about the Collective and Can Do Places. He then introduced me to Ian Scott and invited me to the last Can Do Collective Meeting and I was really impressed that the Collective is actively trying to connect different people together and provide them a platform to have a conversation and collaborate. I think in order to make research more meaningful; you need to work with other people, people who are engaged in various activities, I think that is the key. You are doing fantastic work.

How do you contribute to the Scotland Can Do ambition; for Scotland to be the most entrepreneurial and innovative society for all?

At the moment I am carrying out research on the role of entrepreneurial support organisation’s during this Covid 19 crisis and how this has impacted social enterprises. I would like to share that research with Can Do Partners and also learn from others, how things are happening at the ground level? I think that’s how you can make an impact and make your research more meaningful, it’s just not just publishing it in a journal.

I’m also going to be researching to what extent Can Do Places has made an impact on local communities to promote entrepreneurship.

Just for fun… What is your go to coffee order/favourite coffee spot?

I like black coffee, with milk. There is a coffee bothy here in Stirling and it’s also a farmhouse. So that’s my favourite place to go and enjoy my cup of coffee. I don’t want to sit inside a shop. I like to sit and enjoy the outside and see what’s happening, I like to see happy faces.