Entrepreneurship in Cities

Entrepreneurship in Cities

Neighbourhoods, Households and Homes

Entrepreneurship, Space and Place series

Edited by Colin Mason, Darja Reuschke, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham

Entrepreneurship in Cities focuses on the neglected role of the home and the residential neighbourhood context for entrepreneurship and businesses within cities. The overall objective of the book is to develop a new interdisciplinary perspective that links entrepreneurship research with neighbourhood and urban studies. A key contribution is to show that entrepreneurship in cities is more than agglomeration economies and high-tech clusters. This is the first book to connect entrepreneurship with neighbourhoods and homes, recognising that business activity in the city is not confined to central business districts, high streets and industrial estates but is also found in residential neighbourhoods. It highlights the importance of home-based businesses for the economy of cities. These often overlooked types of businesses and workers significantly contribute to the ‘buzz’ that makes cities favourable places to live and work.

Chapter 7: Changing social networks of entrepreneurs in Dutch residential neighbourhoods

Veronique Schutjens, Gerald Mollenhorst and Beate Volker

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, urban and regional studies, urban studies

Abstract

In the modern Western world, urban residential neighbourhoods have witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of small-scale businesses, and these businesses are there to stay. For many small entrepreneurs, the neighbourhood offers both a favourable business context and strong and sustainable anchors for economic activities. Entrepreneurs and their firms are affected by the socio-economic neighbourhood characteristics and by their relationships with other local firms, entrepreneurs and residents. A thorough examination of the interdependencies between local networks and the presence and success of local firms requires large-scale longitudinal data on networks of entrepreneurs. This chapter discusses the methods and measurements that enable such examinations. It uses unique data collected among 200 entrepreneurs in Dutch residential neighbourhoods. New findings are presented on changes in the amount of (local) social capital that is present in the networks of these entrepreneurs, measured by the positions or occupations to which entrepreneurs have access. The main findings are that neighbourhood contacts seem to broaden over time, and, in particular, home-based entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs running firms that serve local markets increase their access to local social capital. The chapter concludes that future research should focus on the explanations of the changes in the social networks of (neighbourhood) entrepreneurs and on the link between the types of network change and the location strategy and success of entrepreneurs and their firms.

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