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Zahida Shah

Course Leader

Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies


I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

Prior to completing my PhD in 2001, I took up an 18 post-doctoral position with the University of Wales, Bangor (UWB) as a research manager responsible for the UK phase of an international gerontological research project funded by DfID (2000-2001) and managed the research and development of the University’s virtual learning environment (2001-2002), funded by the Joint Information Services Council (JISC).

At UWB, I was also responsible for managing both projects, including data collection and analysis, training and managing 13 fieldworkers and interpreters, undertaking presentations and publications. I continued to work for UWB up to the birth of my son in April 2002, after which I took up freelance work to fit around my son’s health and care needs.

This led me on the journey of senior management and enterprise support. I worked within the voluntary sector in the West Midlands building the sector to become more business focused, by the implementation of quality standards such as PQASSO, Matrix, Quality First, ISO 9000, 2000.

I also managed several projects and women’s organisations within the sector, using the full cycle of management including:

  • HR.
  • Marketing.
  • fundraising.
  • Partnership working.
  • Management.

I worked within the enterprise arena undertaking research, developing and implementing policies working with many enterprise support agencies, including Business Link and the Chamber of Commerce.

This lead me to focus on women’s enterprise, where I lobbied on behalf of women in enterprise and business whilst working with PROWESS and various women’s enterprise development agencies. These agencies including Women’s Business Development Agency; Sandwell Women’s Enterprise Development Agency; regional development agencies and BiS.

Working within the women’s enterprise support arena my aim was to raise awareness of enterprise/self-employment to women and promote women’s enterprise to corporate and the public sectors for procurement and supplier diversity purposes, ensuring women were able to tender on an equal basis to others.

I wanted to provide women in similar positions to me the opportunity to seek employment or self employment that fitted around their family/caring responsibilities.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.

Taught courses

Further information

Industry experience

My industry experience includes roles as external relations manager, specialist delivery design consultant, freelance social enterprise advisor as well as business development manager and business support provider.

I also have 11 years experience of working within voluntary, public and commercial sectors, as a researcher, project manager and I worked as a CEO of women’s organisations which involved implementing quality standards, business support and advice and network development.

Teaching experience

I have taught undergraduate programmes at Coventry University and University of Birmingham; Birmingham Adult Education Services, from 2010-13.

Research interests

My research interests lie in the areas of complexities of gender Identities in minority ethnic women, social care and older South Asians in the UK, women’s enterprise, social enterprise as well as diversity in enterprise support.

In April 2014, I was involved in the evaluation for a marine renewable energy project as part of an Anglo French collaboration with a number of stakeholders and partners, including HE colleges, industry (energy sector), councils, job centres all in the UK and France. The evaluation was based on the Solent Realistic Evaluation Model.

I also produced an information video for FE students wanting to enter business or enterprise in July 2014.

Work in progress

In June 2015, I began co-supervising four PhD students.


Zahida was awarded a PGCHLT – Teaching and Learning in HE 2014 and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.