This chapter’s focus is on inter-firm networks of entrepreneurs located in residential neighbourhoods in the Netherlands and, in particular, on the importance of local inter-firm cooperation contacts and changes therein over time. If local inter-firm cooperation networks exist and become more important over time, the neighbourhood economic tissue might be strengthened and eventually benefit both incumbent firms and new entrepreneurial activities. Based on previous literature, we differentiate in our analysis between a number of characteristics, for example, firm age, firm home-basedness and firm local market orientation. Two waves of The Survey on the Social Networks of Entrepreneurs (in 2008 and 2014) provided us with a panel of 197 entrepreneurs active in over 140 residential neighbourhoods in 40 Dutch municipalities. For both years, the entrepreneurs mention one cooperation contact on average, and for local contacts this average is even lower. Therefore, we conclude that neither local cooperation nor cooperation in general is a common strategy. Using ordered logistic regression models, we found that over time, the average number and importance of local cooperation contacts hardly changed, although it did increase significantly for home-based firms, whereas it decreased for young firms. However, these findings disguise substantial turbulence in cooperation contacts at the individual (entrepreneurial) level. Between 2008 and 2014, almost 90 per cent of both total and local cooperation contacts were replaced by other contacts, emphasizing the ‘temporary coalition’ character of small neighbourhood firms’ cooperation strategies.
Marianne de Beer and Veronique Schutjens
Anne Risselada and Veronique Schutjens
Anne Risselada and Veronique Schutjens investigate to what extent the choice to run a business from home is linked to the entrepreneur’s work-lifestyle. The question has been largely neglected in studies on firm location processes, though it appears that a growing number of firms that are active in developing sectors – such as the knowledge, personal services and consumer sectors that contribute to feed the New Economy – are home-based businesses. The authors use information collected from 370 entrepreneurs operating in 41 residential neighbourhoods in five Dutch cities. Their results show that work-lifestyle factors matter to whether neighbourhood firms are home based: the likelihood of being home based increases with caring for family needs or when the business does not provide the primary household income, and decreases with the growth ambition of the entrepreneur.
Niels Bosma and Veronique Schutjens
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.
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.
Bart Sleutjes, Frank Van Oort and Veronique Schutjens
Veronique Schutjens, Nardo de Vries and Anne Risselada
Marianne de Beer, Gerald Mollenhorst and Veronique A.J.M. Schutjens
In this chapter the dynamics in the social networks of Dutch entrepreneurs in residential neighbourhoods is explored. We argue that an entrepreneur uses his/her social capital for both business and private purposes. This holds especially for entrepreneurs whose firm is located in or in close proximity to the home, as at the neighbourhood level their private and business activities are often strongly mixed. As such, we contribute to the literature as we focus on role overlap and the importance of the local level in social networks of entrepreneurs. In addition, we contribute by employing a longitudinal perspective on entrepreneurial networks as we analyse whether and to what extent the social networks of entrepreneurs have changed over a five-year period (i.e. between 2008 and 2013). We do so by exploring both network size change and network composition change. Network composition is analysed on three dimensions: (1) family versus non-family network contacts; (2) local versus non-local network contacts; and (3) overlap between business-related and private-related network contacts. We use data from two waves (2008 and 2013) of The Survey on the Social Networks of Entrepreneurs (SSNE1 and SSNE2), resulting in a panel of 214 Dutch entrepreneurs, located in 161 residential neighbourhoods of 40 Dutch municipalities. We found that, on average, the network size increased significantly from 3.79 in 2008 to around 4 network contacts in 2013. Also, the results show that local network contacts become more important over time, whereas no significant changes in family contacts are found. There is evidence of role overlap: the help of one network contact on average is asked for both private and business purposes. Furthermore, we explored the association of network change with different entrepreneur characteristics.