Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Friederike Welter, David Smallbone and Anita Van Gils
Chapter 3: Cohesion, Liveability and Firm Success in Dutch Neighbourhoods
Bart Sleutjes, Frank Van Oort and Veronique Schutjens 1. INTRODUCTION Residential neighbourhoods function as ‘breeding places’ for firm activity. Many small-scale firms are started within inner-city milieux or within residential neighbourhoods because of their limited demand for space and the proximity of network contacts, which are important for the provision of resources and reputational development in the early stages of a firm’s life cycle. As a result, an increasing number of small and medium-sized firms are located within residential districts, including those with visible functions, such as shops, and invisible business services firms that are operated from the entrepreneurs’ homes (Aalders et al. 2008). For many of these neighbourhood-based entrepreneurs, their own neighbourhood is where most of their daily life takes place. This ‘everydayness’ of entrepreneurship makes the neighbourhood a potentially important arena for entrepreneurial processes, because it is a ‘relational space’ that brings together different transaction benefits (Johannisson 2011). In recent years, the neighbourhood economy has regained the attention of policy makers in several European countries, including the Netherlands and Germany. Dutch urban policy has adopted a neighbourhood-targeted approach to urban social and economic problems (Van Gent et al. 2009). Stimulating local entrepreneurship is regarded as a way to improve the economic profile of neighbourhoods and to help unemployed neighbourhood residents obtain jobs. It is assumed that local businesses also have positive, non-economic side effects; for example, entrepreneurs’ input plays a significant role in improving local social and physical order (Schutjens and Steenbeek 2010). In other words, neighbourhoods are...
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