Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by David Smallbone, Hans Landström and Dylan Jones-Evans
Chapter 13: Does Enterprise Discourse Have the Power to Enable or Disable Deprived Communities?
Carole Howorth, Caroline Parkinson and Alan Southern INTRODUCTION Many local economic development and regeneration initiatives have connected enterprise and deprived areas. They posit enterprise as a tool for releasing human, social and economic potential. Policy makers are keen to promote enterprise as the solution to deprivation, recognizing employment opportunities through new business start-up and local growth. In this sense, not only are communities being asked to take responsibility for their own futures by being enterprising (see Blackburn and Ram, 2006), the implication is that they will be held accountable for the lack of enterprise that is leading to their deprivation. This is seen in many UK approaches to local economic development but is particularly evident in the drive for social enterprise over the last ten years and as a broader part of both social and economic regeneration. Social enterprise is thus attracting significant interest from a policy perspective and also as a new context for the study of entrepreneurship. The rhetoric of social enterprise adopts the language of business and entrepreneurship as a way forward for particular sections of society. Pomerantz (2003, p. 26) expresses a widely held view in writing, ‘The key to social enterprise involves taking a business-like, innovative approach to the mission of delivering community services.’ The people who run social enterprises are often called ‘social entrepreneurs’ because they are expected to combine ‘entrepreneurial flair with a commitment to giving something back to the community’ (Michael, 2006).1 However, Parkinson and Howorth (2008) found that managers of...
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