Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities
Edited by Maarten van Ham, Darja Reuschke, Reinout Kleinhans, Colin Mason and Stephen Syrett
Chapter 14: Understanding entrepreneurship in residential neighbourhoods and communities of place
This chapter provides conclusions regarding all contributions to this volume, which has explored the under-researched interconnections between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities of place. The key concern has been to contribute to knowledge about how residential areas where people live (neighbourhoods) and interact with co-residents and other actors (communities) are simultaneously shaping entrepreneurship and are being shaped by entrepreneurial activity. It turns out that neighbourhood and community are not contrary but rather complementary concepts for understanding local entrepreneurship. For ‘residentially embedded entrepreneurs’, entrepreneurial activity tends to be related to local market conditions, needs and communities, while ‘residentially disembedded entrepreneurs’ have little or no connection with the local economy, neighbourhood and local place-based community. This volume has also extensively studied community enterprises. The view from entrepreneurship studies on how this type of enterprise can positively impact on neighbourhood development seems more optimistic than in neighbourhood studies where CEs were identified that do not (or cannot) act entrepreneurially in terms of profit seeking and innovation. In fact, ‘successful’ CEs have to balance the (often competing) priorities of innovation, financial stability, accountability to a wider public and long-term sustainability. Several directions for further research have been identified. First, impact and success of CEs are very difficult to assess because they operate in differing fields and timescales and deliver various social, economic and environmental benefits. Secondly, social capital is relevant for entrepreneurship and community enterprises (alongside other capital forms). Further research is required on the nature of and balance among different forms of social capital related to location, size and specific character of the community and to effectiveness and sustainability. Finally, the relationship with active citizenship and local governance merits further study, in particular collaborative arrangements which lead to the organisation, delivery and management of innovative projects by CEs.
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