Entrepreneurial Neighbourhoods
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Entrepreneurial Neighbourhoods

Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities

Edited by Maarten van Ham, Darja Reuschke, Reinout Kleinhans, Colin Mason and Stephen Syrett

Despite the growing evidence on the importance of the neighbourhood, entrepreneurship studies have largely neglected the role of neighbourhoods. This book addresses the nexus between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, confirming not only the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship, but also filling huge gaps in the knowledge base regarding this tripartite relationship.
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Chapter 12: Co-production or counter-production? The struggle of Dutch community enterprises with local institutions

Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities

Reinout Kleinhans

Abstract

In the continuing aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, many European countries are implementing austerity measures and cuts in public policy, alongside longer trends of welfare state retrenchment. To mitigate these trends, governments are putting more emphasis on active citizenship. Citizens are supposed to take responsibility and organize themselves to fill in gaps left by spending cuts in health care, education, employment and neighbourhood governance. Active citizenship is currently perceived as a viable alternative to state-based welfare provision. While not necessarily restricted to poor areas, community enterprises (CEs) in the Netherlands respond to these changes by providing services or other benefits that are crucial to the well-being of residents in deprived neighbourhoods. Inspired by British CEs, residents in Dutch cities are trying to set up community enterprises, but they face huge challenges. The transition from ‘subsidy-dependent’ resident committees to entrepreneurial, independent community-based enterprises with a sound business model is fraught with difficulties. This chapter provides an account of emerging Dutch CEs, based on a panel study with repeated interviews. The analysis reveals strong tensions between community-based, entrepreneurial activism and the responses of local professionals. While the interviewed professionals claim to strive for co-production, the responses of their institutions are more that of ‘counter-production’, as they struggle to find a healthy balance between ‘letting go’ of bottom-up resident initiatives and ‘fitting’ them into existing practices and routines.

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