I'm proud to be a private sector LEP board member for Sheffield City Region, bringing to bear my experience and knowledge of entrepreneurship and the digital tech sector.

I am currently a Doctoral Researcher, pursuing a PhD at Sheffield University Management School, where I am researching entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Hello! I'm Laura.

As a freelancer, I take on a wide variety of projects that utilise my skills in: 

  • Project management;
  • Strategy & operations for social enterprises & SMEs
  • Designing innovative learning programmes;
  • Delivering workshops on a range of topics;
  • Facilitating peer to peer knowledge exchange;
  • Research & report writing;
  • Community engagement.

My broad range of experience has enabled me to be part of some amazing projects helping entrepreneurs and founding teams in social enterprises, startups, and non-profit organisations.

I’m passionate about using my skills to enhance organisations and contribute to the growth of the wider business environment. My career has taken me across the UK (London, Sheffield, and the North of England) and internationally (Peru, Palestine, Estonia, and Cuba).

I'm always on the look-out for interesting projects and collaborations where I can contribute my skills and experience.


Recent projects and clients


  • Designed and managed a competition for Urban Flows Observatory, University of Sheffield, to find hackers & makers who could build a sensor to monitor energy & resource flows around the city (October 2017 - June 2018)
  • Ran an investor lounge event for Capital Enterprise, bringing together entrepreneurs and investors to discuss opportunities (January - March 2018)
  • Designed and facilitated a skills share workshop for an URBACT Implementation Planning Network, "Stay Tuned", in Aveiro, Portugal (March 2018)


  • Designed and delivered a workshop about impact measurement for Sheffield City Council Digital Coalition (October 2017) 
  • Designed and facilitated a workshop on identifying and overcoming barriers to implementation for an URBACT Implementation Planning Network, "Stay Tuned", in Barcelona, Spain (September 2017)
  • Conducted interviews and carried out archival research for the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Sheffield Technology Parks (August - October 2017)
  • Designed and ran “Connected Leaders” peer to peer learning workshops for entrepreneurs in Barnsley, commissioned by Enterprising Barnsley (June - September 2017)
  • Ran a programme on Design Thinking for 11-14 yr olds to highlight possible careers in tech, delivered for Enterprising Barnsley (April - June 2017)
  • Delivered a workshop on digital ecosystems for European economic development practitioners, delivered for the URBACT Action Planning Network, "Tech Town", in Tallinn, Estonia (April 2017)
  • Author of “Digital: A Snapshot of Creative Digital Industries in Sheffield”, commissioned by the University of Sheffield and Creative Sheffield (January - February 2017)


LauraIHBennett.com, April 2017 onwards

Community engagement, ecosystem development, programme design and workshop delivery, and strategy for digital tech, entrepreneurship ecosystems and social enterprises. 


URBACT AD-Hoc expect

urbact.eu/bennett, July 2017 onwards

Approved URBACT ad-hoc expert for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities. Thematic expertise in Local Economic Development (entrepreneurship & competitive SMEs).


Programme Lead, Founders' Network

Tech North, 2016 - 2017

Strategic and operational design, development, and management of the entire programme, from initial concept to execution. Included co-designing content, writing copy, and measuring impact.



Tech North, 2015 - 2016

Developed the community engagement strategy for Tech North; fostered and managed stakeholder relationships; made useful introductions across the North; negotiated sponsorship.



Founder Centric, 2014 - 2015

Established the company’s mission, vision and values; productised workshops and teaching materials for open-source use; designed and implemented internal operational processes; managed key partnerships.


Director of Operations & PrograMmEs

Awamaki, 2012 - 2014

Led a team of 12 international staff; re-focused strategic goals to scale the organisation; developed income-generating programmes; evaluated and monitored impact; financial forecasting and auditing. 

Master's of Science, Globalisation
& Latin American Development

2007 - 2008

Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, UK

BA (Hons) French Studies
and Hispanic Studies

2003 - 2007

University of Birmingham,


2005 - 2006

Universidad de la Habana,
Havana, Cuba