Dr Tolu Olarewaju has taught, researched, and practiced entrepreneurship, international business, and business management for over a decade. Tolu started his first business while studying for a BSc (Hons) in Economics at Babcock University. Upon graduation, he joined Zenith Bank Plc and came 1st Place during the National Trainee Orientation Programme of the bank where he also got the award for most outstanding team player. He left Zenith Bank in 2009 to pursue his MSc studies in International Economics at the University of Birmingham where he was a founding society president for the Hip hop society and student representative. Tolu has a PhD from Aston Business School, Aston University, where he served as a Sessional Lecturer and Research Assistant, and in several capacities to enhance the student learning experience with the Students Union. Tolu was a lecturer at Staffordshire University from 2016 to 2021, where he was the Course leader for the MSc International Business Management, Foundation of Arts & Business Management and BA (Hons) Business Management (Top Up) programs, and was awarded a Teaching Excellence Fellowship in 2018.

Tolu is a Co-Director of Recruitment for Keele Business School where he is also a Business Enterprise Fellow. He was a Co-Research Cluster Lead for the People Organisations Enterprise and Technology (POET) research cluster of the Business School from 2021 to 2023 and is presently the Research Seminar Co-ordinator for the Business School.

He is also an external examiner for both the faculty of Business and Law, at Coventry University and Leeds Business School, at Leeds Beckett University. Tolu won the Academy of Management award in 2015 for “Best Reviewer” in the Entrepreneurship Division, and in 2022, his paper won “One of Best Paper Awards" in the Social Issues in Management Division.

Education and Certifications:
Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy (University of Cambridge)
PhD Management (Aston University)      
MSc International Economics (University of Birmingham)             
BSc Economics (Babcock University)
Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI)                                                           
Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
Acting for Beginners Certificate (The Birmingham Theatre School)
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Higher Education (Aston University)
Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education (Aston University)
Certificate in Information Technology (NIIT)

Tolu has eclectic research interests; you can see more in the research and scholarship section.

Research and scholarship

Tolu’s present research interests revolve around the economics of entrepreneurship, climate change, institutional voids and transaction costs in international business, internationalisation of SMEs, government budgetary transparency, and areas encompassing regional, social, labour and general economics. He is particularly interested in research that might have policy implications as well as areas incorporating poverty reduction. He publishes in the top journals in these fields and contributed to the Encyclopedia of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Tolu is the principal investigator of a British Academy grant investigating the specific challenges that Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business owners faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, the strategies that they used to keep their businesses afloat, and how they engaged with financial and regional support. He can be contacted if you are a business owner willing to take part in his research area.

Tolu is also undertaking research that focuses on how UK businesses engage with the net zero/climate change agenda.

Tolu is a member of both the UKRI Early Career Research Forum and the British Academy Early Career Researcher Network.

Tolu is interested in supervising PhDs in the areas of: The Economics of Entrepreneurship; Ethnic, Migrant or Gender Entrepreneurship; Transaction Costs and Institutional Voids in International Business; Hybrid Organisational Forms to Aid Business Internationalisation of SMEs; The Use of Information Technology in Business; and Government Transparency.

Tolu writes for The Conversation - view Tolu's work here (

You can also find Tolu on Researchgate (


Tolu currently lectures on a range of topics primarily focused on the areas of international business management, commerce and business strategy. Some modules are: MAN-20084 Managing in the Multinational Corporation, MAN-10023 Introduction to International Business, MAN-10026 Multinational Enterprise Business Perspective, and MAN40116 International Strategic Management.


Collaborations and grants awards

Midlands Innovation: Future-Proofing BAME SME Owners for Net-Zero Capability: £7,500;

British Academy Grant (COV19\200561) - The Impact of COVID-19 on BAME Owned Businesses in the UK (Principal Investigator): £9,448.50;

International Council for Small Business Funding: $1,000.

Keele Business School
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