Social Enterprise in Remote and Rural Communities
Edited by Jane Farmer, Carol Hill and Sarah-Anne Muñoz
4. Organisational processes and the policy–practice gap Jane Farmer and Kate Stephen INTRODUCTION In this chapter we consider how community social enterprises form and factors that influence their development. We also reflect on the early stages of the process of enterprise development in the specific locale of the Scottish Highlands. As Muñoz and Steinerowski discuss in Chapter 3, there is a stereotype of the (social) entrepreneur as an individual ‘person of action’ and, as Hill argues in Chapter 1, government policy depicts a desire for ubiquitous community social enterprise as an alternative service and product provider; alternative, that is, to public sector or commercial sector provision. Policy analysis reveals a gap between the desire for community social enterprise and its ubiquitous spontaneous emergence. This may be because there are many challenges for community members in designing and driving the development of local social enterprise. Recently, government policy has acknowledged the need for community activists to catalyse, mentor and give confidence to communities (Conservative Party, 2010), and in this chapter we also reflect on the mediating role of an appointed community social enterprise leader; that is, one appointed by the public sector, a project or agency, with a remit to act as both a mentor and catalyst for change; indeed, what current policy jargon refers to as a ‘community activist’. In the O4O: Older People for Older People project (O4O), which is the underlying and ongoing case study that informs practical aspects of this book, these community activists were...
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