Dr Li Xiao

Associate Professor of EntrepreneurshipLi Xiao


  • Tel: TBC
  • Email: lx59@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Room 1.12, Brookfield House and New Build, Brookfield
  • Office hours: Thursdays 2:00pm - 4:00pm or by appointment by email

Personal details

Prior to joining the University of Leicester, I worked at the Lancaster University Management School (2013-2020) and at the University of Exeter Business School (2010-2013). I hold or have held, a couple of honorary and visiting professorships. I also have years’ experience of working at local government and years’ experience of teaching General Physics at an elite university in China.


I teach entrepreneurship from undergraduate through executive level and research methods from undergraduate through PhD level. I influence teaching in the discipline of entrepreneurship by publishing textbook chapters in internationally recognised entrepreneurship textbooks.

Administrative responsibilities

Director for Research Cluster – Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Environment


My research concentrates on entrepreneurial finance and early-stage high-tech ventures in a transition context, with a particular focus on personal network ties. My work articulates the interplay between evolving entrepreneurial activity and improving regulatory institution, and has significant theoretical, industry and policy impact. My research is of international standing and recognition as well as significantly influencing discussions/debates. My research has received best conference paper awards and appeared in the most prestigious international management and entrepreneurship conference proceedings (e.g. Academy of Management and Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference).

I am regularly invited as a speaker at international events. I have so far delivered 18 research seminars to academics and PhD students at elite universities (i.e. South China University of Technology, Beijing Jiaotong University, The Central University of Finance and Economics Beijing, and others) since 2014.

I have edited a Special Issue on entrepreneurial dynamics and institutional changes for Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business (new open-access journal). I regularly review manuscripts for the world-leading management and entrepreneurship journals (e.g. Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Regional Studies, Urban Studies, Journal of Small Business Management, International Small Business Journal, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development). I have evaluated over 40 research-funding applications for the British Council since 2013.

I have secured research grants, including a research grant from the National Natural Science Foundation China (NNSFC – the most prestigious funding body in China similar to the ESRC in the UK).


I have sustained a record of successfully supervising research students to timely completion. I have acted as an external PhD viva examiner to evaluate PhD thesis nationally and internationally (e.g. University of Pretoria, University of Brighton, and others).

I am interested to hear from PhD candidates working on topics related to her research areas (i.e. entrepreneurial finance, early-stage firms, technology business incubators, institutional changes, and others).


Selected Journal Articles

Xiao L. (2020) “How Lead Investors Build Trust in the Specific Context of A Campaign: A Case Study of Equity Crowdfunding in China”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 26(2), 203-223.

Xiao L. and North D. (2018) “The Role of Technology Business Incubators in Supporting Business Innovation in China: A Case of Regional Adaptability”. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 30 (1-2), 29-57.

Hormiga E. Xiao L. Smallbone D. (2018) “Entrepreneurial Dynamics and Institutional Changes”, Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business, 3(1), 1-16, Editorial of a Special Issue (new open-access journal).

Xiao L. and North D. (2017) “Graduation Performance of Technology Business Incubators in China’s Three Tier Cities: The Role of Incubator Funding, Technical Support, and Entrepreneurial Mentoring”, Journal of Technology Transfer, 42(3), 615-634.

Xiao L. and Ramsden M. (2016) “Founder Expertise, Strategic Choices, Formation and Survival of High-tech SMEs in China: A Resource-substituted Approach”, Journal of Small Business Management 54(3), 892-911.

Xiao L. Larson M. and North D. (2013) “Entrepreneurs and Growth Orientation of Young High-tech SMEs in China: Multiple Measures of Performance”, The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 14(1), 29-38.

Xiao L. and North D. (2012) “Institutional Transition and the Financing of High-tech SMEs in China: A Longitudinal Perspective”, Venture Capital, 14(4), 269-287.

Xiao L. (2011) “Financing High-tech SMEs in China: A Three-stage Model of Business Development”, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 23(3-4), 217-234.

Xiao L. and Ritchie B. (2011) “Informal Investors Investing and Networks in China: An Exploratory Study”, The Journal of Private Equity, 14(3), 72-8.

Xiao L. and North D. (2011) “Financing of Early-stage High-tech Ventures in China: An Institutional Perspective”, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 31(3), 100-114.

Xiao L. and Ritchie B. (2009) “Access to Finance for High-tech SMEs: Regional Differences in China”, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 27(2), 246-262.

Selected Book Chapters

Xiao L. Wang C. and Xu Z. (Forthcoming) “The Role of Technology Business Incubation in Supporting Innovative Start-up Businesses in China” in Mian S. Klofsten M. and Lamine W. (Eds): International Handbook of Research on Business and Technology, SAGE.

Xiao L. (2020) “Entrepreneurship Practice: A Global Perspective” in Deakins D. and Scott J. (Eds): Entrepreneurship: A Contemporary and Global Approach, SAGE.

Smallbone D. Xiao L. and Xu J. (2020). “China – A Focus on Local Policy” in Smallbone D. Welter F. and Storey D. (Eds): A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship Policy, MA Edward Elgar.

Smallbone D. Lyon F. and Xiao L. (2005) “Trust, Co-operation and Networking in an Immigrate Business Community: the Case of Chinese-owned Business in the UK” in Hohmann H. and Welter F. (Eds): Trust and Entrepreneurship: A West-East Perspective, MA Edward Elgar.

Selected Peer-reviewed Conference Papers

2020 Angel Investing in China: Group Decision-making and the Role of Social Contagion, present at Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference 2020, Tennessee, USA, 3-6 June.

2020 The Role of Technology Business Incubation in Supporting Innovative Start-up Businesses in China at Research in Entrepreneurship, Education, and Technology 2020, Ottawa, Canada, 28-29 May.

2019 The Evolution of Business Angels’ Networks and Institutional Changes: A Longitudinal Case Study, presented at the 4th Entrepreneurial Financing Conference, Trier, Germany, 1-4 July.

2018 Challenging Platform Operational Models: How Interpersonal Trust Matter to Equity Crowdfunding, presented at Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Chicago, USA, 10-14 August.

2018 Social Contagions: How Angel Group Members Arrive at Their Individual-level Decisions during the Investment Process, presented at European Academy of Management Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 20-23 June.

2018 Angel Group Investing: the Role of Social Dimensions and Economic-based Evaluation Criteria in Arriving at Individual Decisions of the Group Investors, presented at the 3rd Entrepreneurial Financing Conference, Milan, Italy, 25-27 June.

2017 The Role of Technology Business Incubators in Supporting Business Innovation in China: A Case of Regional Adaptability, presented International Research Conference on Science and Technology Education, Toulouse, France, 12-14 November.

2016 How Trust Influences the Equity Crowdfunding Platform Development Path: an Exploratory Study of AngelCrunch China, presented at the Institute for Small Business Entrepreneurship Conference, Paris, France, 26-28 October.

2016 Contributing to the Forging International Research Collaborations of Consequence, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Anaheim, California, USA, 5-9 August.

2015 Institutional Transition, Types of Personalised Network Ties, and the Evolution of Business Angel Finance, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Behavioral Finance & Economics, Philadelphia, USA, June.

2015 Types of Personalised Network ties, and the Evolution of Business Angel Finance, presented at 6th International Research Meeting in Business and Management Nice, France, July.

2014 Technology Business Incubators and the Graduation Performance of Technology-based Start-up Firms: Regional Evidence from China, presented at the 17th Uddevalla Symposium, Gothenburg, Sweden, May.

2013 Technology Business Incubators and the Graduation Performance of Technology-based Start-up Firms: Regional Evidence from China, presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Orlando, USA, August.

2012 New Technology-based Firms and Technology Business Incubators: Regional Comparisons from China, presented at the International Council for Small Business World Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, July.

2011 Institutional Transition and the Financing High-tech SMEs in China: A Longitudinal Perspective, presented at The Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, Syracuse, USA, June.

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