An emerging research agenda on social enterprises in rural areas suggests social enterprises can mobilise place-based resources creatively to fill gaps and generate social and economic outcomes. This chapter explores what we know about social enterprises as rural development actors and how they relate to other actors such as local councils. Recent research conducted in the island state of Tasmania, Australia has documented that that both social enterprises and local councils saw themselves as playing an important role in local community development. Nevertheless, their ways of working with rural communities were markedly different. Further, neither social enterprises or local councils had a strong understanding of social enterprise as a concept, and so tended to interact within traditional council – community roles. This chapter highlights the potential of social enterprises as rural development actors and raises larger questions about how local social enterprises work with other actors in and beyond rural communities.
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