Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by David Smallbone, João Leitão, Mário Raposo and Friederike Welter
Chapter 14: Entrepreneurship in Urban and Rural Switzerland: Similar or Worlds Apart?
Heiko Bergmann and Daniel Baumgartner RESEARCH BACKGROUND AND AIM OF THE ANALYSIS Entrepreneurship research, either explicitly or implicitly, mainly deals with entrepreneurship in agglomerations or urban areas. There are a number of reasons why cities may be particularly conducive to entrepreneurship (Bosma et al. 2008). People on average have higher levels of education, and regional demand is higher and more diversified. Most new firms produce for a regional market, which explains why the development, structure and level of regional demand have a strong influence on the level of entrepreneurial activities (Reynolds et al. 1994). In most countries, there is a close relationship between the regional level of income and the population density, contributing to higher start-up rates in urban areas. Moreover, cultural and economic diversity is higher (Florida 2002) and ‘innovation appears to be a large city phenomenon’ (Feldman and Audretsch 1999, p. 415). However, few studies investigate the characteristics and factors influencing start-ups in rural areas beside the agricultural sector (McElwee et al. 2005). Kalantaridis (2004) finds that entrepreneurial activities in selected European rural areas are clustered in different behaviour patterns strongly depending on the characteristics of entrepreneurs and a supportive local context within the region. Empirical studies further focus on the characteristics of entrepreneurs in rural areas (for example, Vaillant and Lafuente 2007), where special attention has been given to the entrepreneurial potential of immigrants into rural areas (Gülümser et al. 2008; Kalantaridis and Bika 2006). Other studies explore the role of the socio-institutional ‘milieu’ that...
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