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Alan Southern and Geoff Whittam

Neoliberal perspectives heavily influence the language and outcomes from the enterprise and entrepreneurship agenda. While in recent years there has been a challenge to the market-driven functionalist approach to understanding enterprise, particularly from the Scandinavian School, which prioritises narrative, the primacy attached to enterprise has remained essentially neoliberal. The Left appear to have acquiesced in this discourse, and both sets of views coalesce around the characteristics of enterprise, with, for example, profit seeking and exploitation referring to the same sets of activity although from a different perspective. In this chapter we argue how entrepreneurship and place can be examined through collective enterprising activities that exist in urban communities across the UK and beyond and that provide the basis to re-appropriate language and action in this domain. This chapter highlights entrepreneurial activity which is based on collectivism and solidarity rather than the actions of individual entrepreneurs. It does so using case study research in Liverpool and Glasgow. This demonstrates the resilience and resistance that can accompany enterprise and entrepreneurship in urban communities.

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Steve Talbot, Ciarán Mac an Bhaird and Geoff Whittam

Legislative change introduced in 2012 facilitates lending to the small firm sector by credit unions in the United Kingdom (UK). Policymakers introduced this supply side measure partly to alleviate the dual effects of a credit crunch and recessionary trading environment for small firms. As community based organizations with detailed local knowledge, credit unions are ideally positioned to overcome the greatest barrier to small firm lending, information asymmetries. The legislative change also provides credit unions with an opportunity to overcome impending problems of low profits and declining loan to assets ratios. Credit unions have been slow to embrace this new role, as lending to small firms is negligible. In this chapter, we seek to ascertain why credit unions are not lending to small firms by interviewing chief executive officers of four of the largest credit unions in the UK.

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Mike Danson, Ewa Helinska-Hughes, Michael Hughes and Geoff Whittam