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Beate Volker

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.

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Niels Bosma, Veronique Schutjens and Beate Volker

This chapter explores the interrelation between social entrepreneurship and social capital at the neighbourhood level. Although the relevance of social capital theory for explaining the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship is obvious and undisputed, in-depth academic studies in this area remain scarce. We link social cohesion and collective efficacy, two neighbourhood-level components of social capital, to social entrepreneurial activity in the neighbourhood. In this way, we connect the theoretical perspectives of ‘institutional void’ and ‘institutional support’ that are addressed in the social entrepreneurship literature. We investigate these relations by using a sample of 360 entrepreneurs in 161 Dutch neighbourhoods and their report of the values they attach to societal and economic goals in their businesses. We find that in particular, collective efficacy in neighbourhoods can be linked to social entrepreneurship. This effect appears to be non-linear and U-shaped, which supports the idea that both a lack (signalling ‘institutional void’) and an abundance (signalling ‘institutional support’) of collective efficacy may trigger social entrepreneurial activities in a neighbourhood.

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Veronique Schutjens, Gerald Mollenhorst and Beate Volker

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.