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.
Reinout Kleinhans, Darja Reuschke, Maarten van Ham, Colin Mason and Stephen Syrett
Nick Williams and Colin Williams
The aim of the chapter is to evaluate how entrepreneurial activity is influenced by the individual and area characteristics through a focus on deprived residential urban areas. Although barriers commonly associated with entrepreneurship are not exclusively faced by entrepreneurs in deprived areas, they are likely to be more acute than in relatively affluent areas. We demonstrate the importance of understanding the socio-spatial contingency of entrepreneurship, meaning that entrepreneurial activity is influenced by the social and spatial context in which it occurs. Often entrepreneurial activity in deprived urban areas will be small in scale, with individuals entering trades with low entry barriers and with finite and highly localised demand. This presents a challenge for policymakers as supporting these businesses may simply result in other existing businesses which are not supported failing, resulting in no net gain for the area. In addition, despite the numerous barriers to entrepreneurship present in deprived areas, they do not lack entrepreneurial activity per se. Instead, the chapter shows that a ‘hidden enterprise culture’ exists, with entrepreneurs in deprived areas more likely to engage in entrepreneurship in the informal economy, which we define as activities that are legitimate in all respects besides the fact that they are unregistered by, or hidden from, the state for tax or benefits purposes. The chapter concludes by providing a number of policy implications for fostering entrepreneurship in deprived urban areas.
Marianne de Beer and Veronique Schutjens
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.
Erik Stam and Vareska van de Vrande
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.
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.
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.
Jenny Lendrum and Sarah Swider
This chapter explores the gendered spatial arrangements and practices of informal entrepreneurial and economic activities in one neighbourhood in Detroit, Dtown. Using ethnographic methods, we explore how the larger political economy and spatial arrangements and practices shape the social relationships which mediate exchanges in the informal economy. The ways in which urban space is structured shapes and supports social networks and challenges dichotomous relationships of space. We show the fluidity of space as women carve out and use space in the neighbourhood in new ways to create and sustain networks of economic and social importance, challenging the standard conceptualization of private and public space. We present three types of gendered space based on usage: public, private, and domestic. We show how: 1) public spaces are gendered, which disallows/prevents women from utilizing these spaces in ways that benefit or enhance their opportunities for economic gains and access to resources; 2) private spaces such as businesses are gendered in ways that limit interactions for women but are tailored to men’s interactions; and 3) domestic spaces operate as the public when cash-generating activities are conducted in this space and have become more public as they are used for economic, community and social activities. Our data show the gendered ways that public and private space is blurred and suggest that we should not only look at how public spaces are contested or become privatized but also the process by which private space becomes public. These gendered and racialized processes have important implications for women’s social and economic opportunities, often created through social networks, which should be investigated further.
Ana María Peredo and James J. Chrisman
In a context of increasing globalization and neoliberal economic policies, to what extent can local communities respond to the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts posed by those processes? This chapter provides a conceptual foundation for understanding one particular community response that emerges from local cultural and collective action. ‘Community-based enterprise’ (CBE) is the vehicle in which the community creates an entity that constitutes the community as both an entrepreneur and an enterprise addressing economic, social and environmental challenges holistically. We define ‘CBE’, as a community acting corporately as both entrepreneur and enterprise in pursuit of community common good. This form of enterprise departs from traditional models of entrepreneur in which the agent is an individual or a group of individuals. The basis for this chapter begins in communities in the global south, but extends to communities in the global north. It examines the social, environmental, economic and/or political conditions associated with the emergence of CBEs. It also points out the role that collective action, forms of social capital and size play in its creation. We consider also their typical characteristics such as rootedness in available community skills, multiplicity of goals as well as prevailing community participation and governance structures. The effects of CBEs on fostering entrepreneurship within communities as well as similar developments in neighbouring communities are outlined as well. We discuss challenges to CBE in the form of balancing individual and collective outcomes, of reconciling social, economic and environmental goals and withstanding the pressures of globalization and generational change. We conclude by outlining a future research agenda.
Evan Casper-Futterman and James DeFilippis
In the United States, the decades-long shift in focus of Community Development Corporations (CDCs) from organizing to confront political and economic elites to affordable housing development and service provision has been well documented. In the critical urban studies literature, this trend towards a particular kind of conflict-free community development is met with dismay at the increasing prevalence of capitalist market-based logics into ‘excluded’ urban neighbourhoods, and even to the scale of individual subjectivities. We argue that this binary rubric – pro-market or anti-market – for evaluating CDCs is, however, insufficiently nuanced. We aim to further expand our understanding of entrepreneurial CDCs and their approach towards, and use of, market logics. In this chapter we use the case of the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI), to argue that the use of markets in community development is more complex than the usual neoliberal critique. BCDI is a multi-stakeholder community economic development initiative that seeks to build community wealth among low- and middle-income residents of the Bronx by enlarging the scope of local economic actors and policy. BCDI's vision is for entrepreneurialism in which the local businesses are embedded in networks that support community organizing and what they call ‘economic democracy’. In their pursuit of organizing a platform of economic democracy for the Bronx, BCDI shows that it may indeed be possible to construct local political-economic institutions that make use of markets that are accountable to, and operate in the service of, more just cities.
David Varady, Reinout Kleinhans and Maarten van Ham
The global economic crisis has had a major impact on government spending for urban regeneration. In the context of these austerity regimes, in many European countries, community entrepreneurship and active citizenship are increasingly considered as a means to continue small-scale urban revitalization. This chapter investigates recent literature on both British community enterprises (CEs) and American community development corporations (CDCs). The aim is to assess the current potential of community entrepreneurship in neighbourhood revitalization in the United States and the United Kingdom. Starting from a seminal article, this chapter reviews literature focusing on the role of CEs and CDCs in neighbourhood revitalization. Differences and similarities are analysed, taking into account national context differences. While CDCs have a relatively successful record in affordable housing production in distressed areas, CDCs are fundamentally limited in terms of reversing processes of community decline. CEs in the UK have focused on non-housing issues. Our comparison reveals similarities but also differences with regard to aims, organizational characteristics, cooperation on multiple scales, and community participation. Apart from lessons that can be learned, we provide recommendations for further research that should cover the lack of empirical evidence in this field.