Neighbourhoods, Households and Homes
Edited by Colin Mason, Darja Reuschke, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham
Chapter 11: Urban home-based businesses: how distinct are the businesses and their owners?
Little attention has been paid to the geography of home-based businesses and how potential differences in characteristics and business operations are manifested across space. This chapter seeks to shed light on the characteristics of urban home-based businesses (HBBs) and their owners. It has three aims: first, to identify peculiarities of HBBs in urban areas; second, to test whether there exist ‘typical’ urban HBB entrepreneurs; and, third, to make recommendations as to how cities and national government can support home-based businesses. The empirical findings drawn from a survey of the members of the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland clearly show that urban HBBs possess distinct characteristics and motivations. Key findings are: urban HBBs are concentrated in business services and creative services; urban economies benefit from the local supplier network of HBBs; and HBBs that are operated around disability or care are more likely to be found in urban areas. It concludes that HBBs are diverse, with distinct sub-groups having distinct needs. For cities and local governments it is therefore important not to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Different business needs should be identified on the basis not only of the characteristics of the business (industry, number of employees) but also of the characteristics of the owner (gender, disability or health).
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