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The contribution of community enterprise to British urban regeneration in a period of state retrenchment

Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities

Nick Bailey

Social enterprise is a hybrid sector lying between the public and private sectors. One part of this broad category is community enterprise where not-for-profit organizations are established to address particular social, economic and environmental priorities. These organizations often operate in defined areas where significant sections of the population experience relative deprivation or social exclusion. This chapter discusses the growth and nature of community enterprises (CEs) and in particular the sub-set of asset-based community development trusts (CDTs), which have evolved in Britain since the 1970s. It begins by discussing the definitions of the CE sector and then explains how urban regeneration policy has evolved in Britain in order to increasingly encourage the transfer of assets and service delivery to third sector bodies. Three models are then used to outline the key dimensions of different CDTs using a number of examples. The conclusions confirm that CDTs are often fully committed to seeking sustainability while operating on the margins of profitability and only the larger, more sustainable CDTs can make a significant contribution to wider regeneration strategies operating at urban or metropolitan levels. But greater flexibility is needed in transferring assets and integrating CEs more closely with broader regeneration strategies. However, major gaps in knowledge of the sector remain particularly in relation to questions of scale and breadth of impact. Overall, CDTs can be seen as part of a response to the neoliberal terrain of austerity and the gradual retrenchment of the public sector at the local level but may offer new opportunities for co-production.

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  • Entrepreneurship, Space and Place series

Nick Bailey

This chapter examines the place of the neighbourhood in relation to entrepreneurial processes. It explores these processes from the perspective of research on housing and neighbourhoods, and it does so with a particular interest in more deprived neighbourhoods and the potential for entrepreneurial activities to contribute to the regeneration of these locations. The chapter argues that the neighbourhood retains an important place in daily lives as a realm of social interaction and relationships. It explores how the neighbourhood may influence entrepreneurial processes in a number of ways. It looks at the neighbourhood as a potential influence on attitudes to entrepreneurship and the decision to start a business, and in terms of the environment or resources it provides for entrepreneurial success, including resources accessed through social capital or networks. It also examines how entrepreneurial concerns may impact on neighbourhood choice and hence the consequences for sorting processes. In relation to more deprived neighbourhoods, it argues that it is difficult to avoid the general conclusion that these have not only less entrepreneurial potential by virtue of the population, but also a more difficult environment. Nevertheless, it concludes that we should not understate the importance or the potential of entrepreneurial activities for deprived neighbourhoods, and that we should recognise diverse forms of entrepreneurship which are already an asset in these areas.