Entrepreneurship in Cities
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Entrepreneurship in Cities

Neighbourhoods, Households and Homes

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

Entrepreneurship in Cities focuses on the neglected role of the home and the residential neighbourhood context for entrepreneurship and businesses within cities. The overall objective of the book is to develop a new interdisciplinary perspective that links entrepreneurship research with neighbourhood and urban studies. A key contribution is to show that entrepreneurship in cities is more than agglomeration economies and high-tech clusters. This is the first book to connect entrepreneurship with neighbourhoods and homes, recognising that business activity in the city is not confined to central business districts, high streets and industrial estates but is also found in residential neighbourhoods. It highlights the importance of home-based businesses for the economy of cities. These often overlooked types of businesses and workers significantly contribute to the ‘buzz’ that makes cities favourable places to live and work.
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Chapter 6: Enterprising mothers in residential neighbourhoods: the role of local social capital

Carol Ekinsmyth


Mothers who run small, home-based businesses around their child care routines are the empirical subjects of this chapter. These businesses are located within the wider geographic sphere of the residential neighbourhood, which in comparison to wider scales is under-researched in studies of entrepreneurship. Indeed these largely domestic spaces and the micro-businesses that they often contain are commonly considered insignificant in economic terms. This chapter argues that ignoring such activities risks blindness to a key factor in the well-being and livelihoods of individuals and families. It examines the role of neighbourhood, especially neighbourhood social capital, in home-based businesses. The social networks and social capital that ensue, as a variable characteristic of neighbourhoods, and a potentially key aspect of home-based business, are the focus of this chapter. Concentrating on entrepreneurs with limited daily mobilities (mothers of young children), this chapter questions what role neighbourhoods might play in providing local social capital that can enrich business. Empirical research presented in this chapter shows that, in daily life, home-based mothers take part in neighbourhood ‘space–time ballets’, negotiating space, schedule and duties. Neighbourhoods contain moving constellations of individuals whose daily activities result in repetitive temporary coalitions of individuals in specific places (e.g. primary schools, community halls, parks, playgrounds).

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