This chapter discusses the rise of co-working spaces for solopreneurs. The Netherlands has seen a very rapid increase in the number of solo self-employed (solopreneurs) over the last decades. This has led to an increase in the demand for flexible work spaces. This chapter provides an empirical analysis of a particular co-working space case study in the Netherlands: Seats2meet. The chapter presents the results of a large survey among users of this co-working space. This study systematically analyses the motives and outcomes of the solopreneurs working at these spaces. Solopreneurs in this co-working space are highly educated and relatively young, and mainly active in business services, IT and creative industries. They use the co-working space because it offers them an alternative to working alone from home and more in general enables a change of working environment. The opportunity to interact with others is also an important motive to join a co-working space. As a result, co-working spaces are perceived to contribute to both the development of individuals and their business. More in particular, to improve current products and services and to develop new ones, to expand the customer network and to improve business skills. Co-working also seems to reduce the pressure on inner-city traffic, as most solopreneurs travel to work by bike or public transport. Self-employed workers are more home-based than employees, which might mean an increasing use of the neighbourhood as a place of both living and working. Solopreneurs, especially the higher-educated segment, are more likely to work in a co-working space (temporarily), perhaps not in the neighbourhood, but very likely in the same city, which might imply the rise of the multifunctional city, with distinct places to live and work, within one city, instead of commuting between cities. So the rise of solopreneurs seems to reinforce the use of the neighbourhood, while the use of co-working spaces might favour perhaps the city, but not necessarily the same neighbourhood.
Browse by title
Erik Stam and Vareska van de Vrande
Creativity has a strong social component. The capture of distributed collective creativity plays a significant role in the innovative processes in organizations. In recent years, many localized spaces of collaborative innovation have been created predominantly in cities under different names such as: Fab Labs, hackerspaces, makerspaces, co-working spaces and Living Labs. All these spaces are based on openness, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. However, they differ in their entrepreneurial approach. This chapter proposes a classification of different localized collaborative spaces according to 1) their focus either on the exploration of new ideas or the exploitation of innovations with a business purpose, and 2) the governance mode, whether it is ‘top-down’ or ‘bottom-up’. It analyses the similarities and differences of these four different ‘ideal’ types and discusses how these spaces act as platforms for interaction of local actors and potential places for the emergence of local communities around specific practices and interests.
Darja Reuschke, Reinout Kleinhans, Stephen Syrett, Maarten van Ham and Colin Mason
This chapter provides conclusions regarding all contributions to this volume, which has explored the under-researched interconnections between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities of place. The key concern has been to contribute to knowledge about how residential areas where people live (neighbourhoods) and interact with co-residents and other actors (communities) are simultaneously shaping entrepreneurship and are being shaped by entrepreneurial activity. It turns out that neighbourhood and community are not contrary but rather complementary concepts for understanding local entrepreneurship. For ‘residentially embedded entrepreneurs’, entrepreneurial activity tends to be related to local market conditions, needs and communities, while ‘residentially disembedded entrepreneurs’ have little or no connection with the local economy, neighbourhood and local place-based community. This volume has also extensively studied community enterprises. The view from entrepreneurship studies on how this type of enterprise can positively impact on neighbourhood development seems more optimistic than in neighbourhood studies where CEs were identified that do not (or cannot) act entrepreneurially in terms of profit seeking and innovation. In fact, ‘successful’ CEs have to balance the (often competing) priorities of innovation, financial stability, accountability to a wider public and long-term sustainability. Several directions for further research have been identified. First, impact and success of CEs are very difficult to assess because they operate in differing fields and timescales and deliver various social, economic and environmental benefits. Secondly, social capital is relevant for entrepreneurship and community enterprises (alongside other capital forms). Further research is required on the nature of and balance among different forms of social capital related to location, size and specific character of the community and to effectiveness and sustainability. Finally, the relationship with active citizenship and local governance merits further study, in particular collaborative arrangements which lead to the organisation, delivery and management of innovative projects by CEs.
Reinout Kleinhans, Darja Reuschke, Maarten van Ham, Colin Mason and Stephen Syrett
Until recently, entrepreneurship and neighbourhood studies were academic disciplines which rarely interacted with each other. However, recent macroeconomic and societal trends have pointed the spotlight on the nexus between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, highlighting not only the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship, but also the huge gaps in our knowledge base regarding this tripartite relationship. In much of the literature, a distinction is drawn between entrepreneurship taking place in neighbourhoods or communities, and entrepreneurship taking place for neighbourhoods and communities. This chapter starts out from the international call for interdisciplinary approaches to entrepreneurship and firm formation to overcome entrepreneurship research and neighbourhood and community studies’ mutual neglect for one another’s fields of research. This introduction to a volume of chapters aims to shed light on the multiple relationships between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities across several countries. It asks how neighbourhoods and communities can shape entrepreneurship, a question for which the relevance stems from radical changes of (inter)national and regional labour markets and growing evidence that neighbourhood contexts impact on entrepreneurship and self-employment in various ways. It also asks the ‘reverse’ question: how does entrepreneurship influence neighbourhoods and communities? In doing so, the chapter (and many other chapters in the book) treat ‘community’ as a local, spatially embedded concept. Particular attention is devoted to community-based forms of enterprise and their potential for contemporary bottom-up neighbourhood regeneration.
It is widely acknowledged that woman’s networks and their social capital considerably differ from men’s. Given that social capital is an important resource for getting ahead in society it is important to understand these differences. Do women and men create different forms of social capital and are there differences in the benefits of social capital? Furthermore, what is the role of the neighbourhood where the business is located; what are the benefits of local social ties and of the macro-level social capital for these businesses? These questions are addressed in order to determine whether gender differences impact the way entrepreneurs run their business. Two opposing arguments are employed: firstly, given the social position of women in society – female entrepreneurs are expected to focus more on family and less on instrumental relationships than men, regardless of their education and labour market activity. The second and opposing argument is that women who design and run a business are acting beyond traditional gender roles. Data from a 2014 survey of entrepreneurs in the Netherlands (SSNE) are used for the analysis. Results show that men and women differ in their number of weaker ties. In addition, while women’s businesses benefit from a neighbourhood’s social capital, that is, macro-level social capital, men’s seem to benefit in particular from access to many diverse positions in the neighbourhood and beyond and men’s beneficial ties are located at the micro level.