Dr Anna Spadavecchia


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship

Personal statement

Anna Spadavecchia is a Reader in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is the “Alfred D. Chandler Jr. International Visiting Scholar in Business History” at Harvard Business School, academic year 2022-23. She is the recipient of a BA/Leverhulme Small Grant, 2022-2024.

Anna’s research interests are in the fields of Innovation in an international perspective, and Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. She has worked on various historical and contemporary facets of these topics. One facet concerns the impact of external economies on the innovation activity of independent inventors, SMEs and large corporations. A further perspective concerns the use of patents by independent inventors and corporations in their attempts to control markets in the early 20th century. She has also worked on national and regional policies for the development of small businesses (SMEs) and clusters in Italy from 1951 to 1991.

Anna held visiting fellowships at the Centre for Business History, Copenhagen Business School (March-April 2017); Department of Political Economy and Statistics, Università di Siena (January-February 2017); Rutgers Business School, Newark, USA (October 2009); Department of Economics, University of Tübingen (August 2003). She is a member of the following American and European academic organisations: The Business History Conference (USA-based); European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy; European Business History Association; Association of Business Historians (UK-based); Associazione per la Storia Economica (Italy-based); Economic History Society (UK-based).

She holds a PhD in Economic History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her doctoral thesis was awarded the Best PhD Dissertation Prize by the European Business History Association (2004) and by the USA-based Business History Conference (Krooss Prize, 2005).


Has expertise in:

    International technology transfer

    Independent inventors and corporate innovation

    National and regional policies for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

    Development of Clusters

    Policies for SMEs and Clusters

    Business History

Prizes and awards

Publication Prize _ Strathclyde Business School
Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. International Visiting Scholar in Business History at Harvard Business School
Herman E. Krooss Prize for Best Dissertation in Business History
European Business History Association (EBHA) Dissertation Prize

More prizes and awards


Coordinator of the Economic History research area of the European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy, 2015 – present.

Member of the organizing committee of the Association of Business Historians Conference held at the University of Strathclyde, 1-2 July 2022.

Member of the Joan Robinson Book Prize Committee, European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy, 2021.

Member of the Coleman Prize PhD Dissertation Committee, Association of Business Historians annual conference 2020.

Member of the Best Paper Prize Committee, European Business History Association annual conference 2017.

Member of the Krooss Prize Dissertation Committee, Business History Conference annual meeting 2016.

Co-director, Business History Conference Workshops, 2014-16.

Trustee, The Business History Conference. 2011-14


Member of the following American and European academic organisations: The Business History Conference (USA-based); European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy; European Business History Association; Association of Business Historians (UK-based); Associazione per la Storia Economica (Italy-based); Economic History Society (UK-based).


Referee of articles for the British Journal of Management, Business History, Business History Review, The Economic History Review, Enterprise and Society, Industrial and Corporate Change and Research Policy.


Patents, industry control, and the rise of the giant American corporation
Scott Peter, Spadavecchia Anna
Research Policy Vol 52 (2023)
Which actors drove national patterns of technological specialization into the science-based age? The British experience, 1918-1932
Cantwell John, Spadavecchia Anna
Industrial and Corporate Change, pp. 1-25 (2023)
The banking-industry relationship in Italy : large national banks and small local banks compared, 1913-1936
Rinaldi Alberto, Spadavecchia Anna
Business History Vol 63, pp. 988-1006 (2021)
'Old' and recent knowledge in a global industry; the integrated circuit industry and France, 1970s-2013
Ho Yen-Chen, Spadavecchia Anna
Entreprises et Histoire, pp. 56-72 (2020)
Building industrial districts : do subsidies help? Evidence from post-war Italy
Spadavecchia Anna
Business History Review Vol 94, pp. 399-423 (2020)
Fundamental patents, national intellectual property regimes, and the development of new industries in Britain and America during the second industrial revolution
Scott Peter, Spadavecchia Anna
Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook Vol 60, pp. 181-208 (2019)

More publications


I have built my teaching expertise at two triple-accredited Business Schools: Strathclyde and Henley. I have designed and convened successful BA and MSc programmes and modules in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management since 2008. My teaching portfolio includes modules at all levels (Undergraduate, Masters, MBA and PhD). I am currently teaching innovative modules, such as “Internationalisation and Growth” and ‘Issues and Trends in Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ for MSc students. These modules focus on the global business environment and its opportunities for start-ups, and their innovation and growth. In addition to Undergraduate and Masters’ modules, I am teaching ‘New Venture Creation’ to MBA students.

I am currently External Examiner (Post-graduate taught degrees) in the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London. I served as External Examiner (Undergraduate degrees) in the Department of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Science from September 2016 to June 2020.

Research interests

My current research focuses on the international market for technology in the years between the two world wars (1919-1938). Using records held in British and American archives, this research examines how the USA – UK market for inventions operated and the connections between independent inventors and corporations. My research on innovation includes additional facets such as management of intellectual property rights, innovation and foreign technology in Italy, from 1861 to 2011, innovation in Britain and in Germany from a regional perspective, and the impact of external economies on business product innovation.

My research interests include the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and clusters, as well as the role of financial institutions in their development. This interest has led more recently to research into the structure of Italian capitalism, focusing in particular on the corporate and banking networks.


Professional activities

Harvard Business School
Visiting researcher
World Economic History Congress (2022)
Association of Business Historians Conference
25th European Business History Association Congress
Revista de Historia Industrial – Industrial History Review (Journal)
Peer reviewer
World Congress of Business History

More professional activities


Quantitative Business History _ Special Issue
Spadavecchia, Anna (Principal Investigator) Binda, Veronica (Academic)
10-Jan-2022 - 23-Jan-2023
How does technology travel?
Spadavecchia, Anna (Principal Investigator)
10-Jan-2022 - 09-Jan-2024
Innovation and foreign technology in Italy, 1861-2011
Spadavecchia, Anna (Co-investigator) Cantwell, John (Co-investigator) Barbiellini Amidei, Federico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2010 - 31-Jan-2011
Innovation and foreign technology in Italy, 1861-2011’
Spadavecchia, Anna (Principal Investigator) Barbiellini Amidei, Federico (Principal Investigator) Cantwell, John (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2010 - 31-Jan-2010
Innovation and industrial leadership in interwar Britain
Cantwell, John (Co-investigator) Spadavecchia, Anna (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2006 - 30-Jan-2007
‘Innovation and industrial leadership in interwar Britain’
Spadavecchia, Anna (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2006 - 01-Jan-2007

More projects


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship
Stenhouse Wing

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