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 11: Urban home-based businesses: how distinct are the businesses and their owners?

Darja Reuschke and Colin Mason

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


Little attention has been paid to the geography of home-based businesses and how potential differences in characteristics and business operations are manifested across space. This chapter seeks to shed light on the characteristics of urban home-based businesses (HBBs) and their owners. It has three aims: first, to identify peculiarities of HBBs in urban areas; second, to test whether there exist ‘typical’ urban HBB entrepreneurs; and, third, to make recommendations as to how cities and national government can support home-based businesses. The empirical findings drawn from a survey of the members of the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland clearly show that urban HBBs possess distinct characteristics and motivations. Key findings are: urban HBBs are concentrated in business services and creative services; urban economies benefit from the local supplier network of HBBs; and HBBs that are operated around disability or care are more likely to be found in urban areas. It concludes that HBBs are diverse, with distinct sub-groups having distinct needs. For cities and local governments it is therefore important not to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Different business needs should be identified on the basis not only of the characteristics of the business (industry, number of employees) but also of the characteristics of the owner (gender, disability or health).

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