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Understanding Small Enterprises (USE2013) Conference

The 2nd Understanding Small Enterprises (USE2013) Conference was held in Nelson, New Zealand from 19-22 February 2013. This followed on from the first USE2009   conference held in Denmark.

USE2013 was a great SUCCESS all round, the feedback was very positive, both scientifically and in terms of networking and establishing friendships and international relations that we hope will last right through to the next  conference. The Organising Committee wish to thanks all who attended and made the Conference such a success.

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USE conferences provide a forum to enhance understanding of small enterprises and have a unique focus on the well-being of both people and business. USE2013 focused on sharing knowledge about transforming understanding of small enterprises into practice to help create healthy working lives in healthy businesses. This was reflected in the conference theme: From USE to action: transforming our understanding of small enterprises into practise to create healthy working lives in healthy businesses.

Over 100 delegates from 22 countries attended USE2013. There were 82 presentations in 21 Sessions (including Concurrent Sessions, Streams, Workshops, Round Table Discussions and Posters).  These showcased the latest research on the work environment in small businesses. A diverse range of themes covered issues such as the informal sector, agriculture, governmental influence, practical tools, evaluation of interventions to ethics and CSR. 

The Conference Programme  is on this website, as well as the Proceedings  and the PowerPoint presentations will be available soon. 

Seven internationally renowned keynote speakers  shared their wisdom: Professor Peter Hasle, Professor David Caple, Professor Kazutaka Kogi, Associate Professor Felicity Lamm, Dr Hans-Jeurgen Bischoff, Associate Professor Ian Laird and Dr Kirsten Olsen. Professor David Walters was scheduled as a keynote speaker but was unable to attend.

USE2013 offered a friendly, relaxed setting for delegates to develop and share their research and experiences, rekindle networks and make new friends and research partners. The conference encouraged attendance by cross-disciplinary participants with an interest in small businesses, particularly quality of working life and work environment, including: academics, researchers, practitioners, consultants, owners and managers of small enterprises, social partners, government officials and policy makers. There is also a writers section where you can meet with the experts behind solutions that are created to resolve "do my homework for me" requests that are popular among students now.

Special Issue of Journals

We have secured agreements from the general editors of two journals: Safety Science and Small Enterprise Research, to prepare Special Issues concerned with Health and Safety in Small Enterprises. Some of the papers from the proceedings are well suited for revision and submission to the Special Issues. Details of how to submit a paper  to these special issues can be found here.

Social programme

The social programme of USE2013 was also a great success, starting with an informal get together, followed by an exciting welcome function in an old boathouse overlooking the estuary at sunset and a real ‘WOW ’for the conference dinner at the World of Wearable Arts and Vintage Car Museum. Some photos  may be found here .

Exploring Nelson and New Zealand  

Many delegates took advantage of the fabulously sunny weather to go hiking and kayaking (wearing hats of course) before or after the conference and to visit the Nelson Farmers market - all small tourist and craft businesses, including eating the local hairy and tasty kiwifruit. I promised to EAT my HAT if it was not sunny. Fortunately it was sunny the whole time during the conference, so I did not have to EAT my HAT. But if it had been rainy, I would have eaten my local Kiwifruit - it is E dible A nd T asty (EAT ) and H airy A nd T asty (HAT )! 

Next Conference

I am pleased to announce that the next conference  will be in Groningen in the Netherlands, 21-23 October 2015.

Professor Stephen Legg
Chair of USE2013 Conference Organising Committee