About me

Maria is a Senior Lecturer, researcher, knowledge manager and social enterprise consultant with experience in the private, social economy and academic sectors. After having worked as knowledge management practitioner for five years in combination with consultancy work with social economy organisations in Colombia, she has started her academic career in UK as researcher and senior lecturer in social enterprises, social innovation, knowledge management, informal entrepreneurship, marginalised social groups and sustainability.


  • PhD Business Information Management and Operations, University of Westminster, UK
  • MEng Industrial Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • BEng Industrial Engineering, Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Maria is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has taught business-related topics on undergraduate and postgraduate modules, including Sustainable Business, Global Strategic Management and Designing Value. She is currently leading the Innovation and Creativity module in our BA Business Management degree and the Strategic Innovation in the digital world module in our MBA programme.


Maria's research interests are mostly on 'enterprising at human scale'. Her work focuses on:

i) Understanding social initiatives at micro/local/bottom-up level and learn from them while co-creating the conditions for them to thrive. 

ii) People empowered in their right to earn a living and develop formally in the economy by enterprising as oppose to an employment route, arising out from their own initiative and commitment 

iii) Field-based social innovations in local development context with a prime interest in grassroots around the world, with emphasis on the global south 

She has projects in Brazil, Colombia and the UK exploring social enterprises, social innovations, community-based enterprises, barefoot and informal entrepreneurship, waste pickers, low-skilled low-waged migrants, and spiral economy. Most recently, she was awarded funding from the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust (2019, £10k) to explore the struggles of waste pickers in the Colombian informal economy to inform policy and practice.

PhD supervision interest:

  • Social entrepreneurial and social innovation practices
  • Informal and collective entrepreneurship
  • Barefoot entrepreneurs and their challenges
  • Entrepreneurship as poverty reduction strategy


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.