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Entrepreneurial Neighbourhoods. Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities



Despite the growing evidence on the importance of the neighbourhood, entrepreneurship studies have largely neglected the role of neighbourhoods. This book addresses the nexus between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, confirming not only the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship, but also filling huge gaps in the knowledge base regarding this tripartite relationship. Interdisciplinary chapters explore the importance of the neighbourhood and local social networks for individual entrepreneurs, highlighting the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship across several countries. Considering entrepreneurship as a community-based, rather than individual, effort, key contributions explore how entrepreneurship can influence neighbourhoods and communities, in particular through entrepreneurial actions of residents joining forces. The book critically examines the ways in which entrepreneurship can benefit, shape and transform neighbourhoods, particularly those areas affected by social deprivation and poverty. Finally, it outlines a research agenda to further extend the scientific and policy-relevant knowledge on the relationships between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities. As a response to the international call for an interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship research and neighbourhood and community studies, this book will engage scholars and researchers from entrepreneurship studies, urban geography, housing studies, political studies, sociology and urban planning.
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Entrepreneurial Neighbourhoods
Towards an Understanding of the Economies of
Neighbourhoods and Communities
Entrepreneurship, Space and Place series
Edited by Maarten van Ham, Professor, Faculty of Architecture and the
Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands and
University of St Andrews, UK, Darja Reuschke, Department of
Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, UK, Reinout
Kleinhans, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft
University of Technology, the Netherlands, Colin Mason, Professor of
Entrepreneurship, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
and Stephen Syrett, Professor of Local Economic Development, Centre for Enterprise and
Economic Development Research, Middlesex University, UK
Despite the growing evidence on the importance of the neighbourhood, entrepreneurship studies
have largely neglected the role of neighbourhoods. This book addresses the nexus between
entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, confirming not only the importance of ‘the
local’ in entrepreneurship, but also filling huge gaps in the knowledge base regarding this tripartite
‘A timely and highly relevant contribution. Congratulations are due to the editors and contributing
authors for producing such a valuable work.’
– Léo-Paul Dana, Princeton University, US
‘This is a comprehensive and ground-breaking volume on the complex relationships between
enterprise, community and neighbourhood. The editors have succeeded in bringing together a
wide variety of scholars who are at the cutting edge of research and theorising in this field. The
book presents new and significant research findings and throws important new light on the
contribution of entrepreneurship to community development at a local level.’
– Peter Somerville, University of Lincoln, UK
‘Recently, entrepreneurship research has turned its attention to the ‘local’: the neighbourhoods and
communities where entrepreneurship happens. Thus, this volume is very timely and adds much to
that discussion. I very much enjoyed reading it. Its appeal is the broad range of empirical and
theoretical insights into entrepreneurial neighbourhoods. The editors have done a great job in
assembling such knowledgeable contributors who outline the different facets of entrepreneurial
neighbourhoods. All in all, a book to be recommended to scholars and policy-makers alike who are
interested in the impact of place on entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurs (can) change place.’
– Friederike Welter, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn, and University of Siegen,
‘This engaging edited collection offers new insights about entrepreneurship in the context of
neighbourhoods and communities. The book brings together contributions from different
disciplinary and theoretical perspectives to understand this often overlooked local context of
entrepreneurial activity, and sets out the foundations for new research agendas.’
– Tim Vorley, University of Sheffield, UK
‘This collection is a timely contribution to an important area of merging discourse in the fields of
entrepreneurship and neighbourhood studies. The editors have synthesised some wonderful work
from an interdisciplinary perspective investigating the neglected role of community,
neighbourhoods and local social networks for entrepreneurship. The concept of community is
explored through a particular focus upon community-based social enterprises and their relationship
with wider economic and political trends. A valuable, stimulating and exciting book.’
– Gerard McElwee, University of Huddersfield, UK
2017 336 pp Hardback 9781785367236 £95.00 £85.50 $145.00 $130.50
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... Besides (usually scant) targeted measures and wider-scope policies towards (to-be) entrepreneurs and minorities, local social and institutional conditions may influence how regulations affect entrepreneurial landscapes. Policies aiming to foster (minority) self-employment, enhancing local economies and improving social inclusion (Kloosterman, 2003;van Ham et al., 2017) may bring place-based constraints and opportunities or are designed to promote locally specific entrepreneurship that attracts gentrifiers or tourists (van Eck, Hagemans and Rath, 2020). ...
Full-text available
Recent literature claims that minority entrepreneurship is changing, e.g., entering non-ethnic sectors. A change partly related to spatial transformations (such as gentrification) in neighbourhoods where minorities are settled and to policies affecting their ventures. This article aims to disentangle how targeted and general policies affect minority entrepreneurship in neighbourhoods characterised by ethnic and class diversity in Copenhagen, Istanbul, Milan and Warsaw. Based on a comparative analysis of qualitative interviews, this article aims to answer the following questions: How do changes in neighbourhoods characterised by population diversity affect minority entrepreneurship? Are policies—especially those at city and neighbourhood level (including regeneration measures)sustaining or challenging minority entrepreneurship? Our findings show that, despite local variations in terms of political economy, welfare structure and urban governance, notwithstanding displacing effects related to national and local policies, many minority businesses are responsive to neighbourhood changes and succeed to extend their market range beyond the ethnic or impoverished clientele. © Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy. All rights reserved.
... According to Van Ham et al. (2017), the philosophy behind the formation of coworking spaces is to create a platform for three types of workers: independent professionals, entrepreneurs, and teleworkers. Entrepreneurs and selfemployed people are keen to work in coworking spaces since these locations are known for their creative and innovative atmosphere. ...
... Against the backdrop of various factors, which may influence entrepreneurship's development dynamics and directions, the geographical (spatial) location, in particular inter-regional and intra-regional proximity, are strongly linked to local specificities (Torre and Wallet, 2014;van Ham et al., 2017). Such proximity, especially in the case of regions and local communities, which largely differ in terms of economic development, may be a factor stimulating entrepreneurship development in less developed regions. ...
... Urban settings provide an ideal environment to satisfy such conditions [8,9]. This paper takes a careful look at the local context of new establishments [10] by examining the extent to which neighborhood conditions contribute to attracting businesses. Recent literature explores microlevel determinants and attempts to measure the geographic scope of technology spillovers by analyzing spatial clusters of venture capital investment [11], knowledge-intensive start-ups [12], research universities [13], and high-growth firms [14]. ...
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With the continuing shift toward e-commerce, physical business locations with a brick-and-mortar presence become an endangered element of urban fabric, land use, and the local economy. City governments and local municipalities have created and implemented a variety of strategies and incentives to stimulate new business activity within their jurisdictions. A policy of enhancing the business climate is productive in some regions but not in others. To understand these variations in outcomes, this research focuses on examining the relationship between the uniqueness of certain regions, spatially bounded characteristics, and how both affect where new establishments locate. A two-level model is introduced to employ the census tract as a spatial unit of analysis and analyzes new establishments within 27 medium-sized metropolitan statistical areas in the United States. That quantitative model allows this study to determine key regional and neighborhood factors, as well as the existence of previously unmeasured factors, influencing location decisions of new establishments. The results of this study confirm the importance of economic, demographic, and geographic conditions at the neighborhood level, providing a better understanding of the vulnerability of the local economy.
This contribution critically examines the possible interface between territorial cohesion and social innovation by investigating how two local social innovation initiatives in the Milan metropolitan area have tried to tackle existing territorial inequalities. The paper draws on the outcomes of the Horizon 2020 Project ‘COHSMO―Inequality, Urbanization and Territorial Cohesion: developing the European social model of economic growth and democratic capacity’ (2017–2021) and places emphasis on the ways in which social innovation can emerge in the public sector and be sustained by public action in connection with civil society to solve problems of socio-spatial inequalities in distressed urban neighborhoods. Findings show that social innovation in the two cases has been interpreted as a trigger for empowering socially vulnerable inhabitants and reconnecting them with existing welfare services. This has happened through a filter mechanism that allowed to create a soft space where institutional and third-sector actors could approach vulnerable individuals in informal settings, answer to their emerging social needs, and promote empowerment processes. The analysis highlighted a relationship of complementarity between social innovation and the welfare system due to the capacity of socially innovative actions to fill some gaps present in existing welfare spaces or in the market.
Full-text available
This study unpacked the key sustainability drivers for successful social enterprises or community-based tourism enterprises (CBTEs), based on a study of a Thailand’s Best Responsible Tourism award-winner at Sapphaya Community in Chai Nat Province. Using a grounded-theory qualitative case study, our key research objective is to gain insights into how community and enterprise leaders of a national award-winning CBTE in Thailand can generate value by revalorizing its cultural heritage and local assets to achieve sustainable community-based tourism. The research also explores how the CBTE can increase local engagement with multi-stakeholders. Our findings indicated two key sustainability drivers, including leadership and local engagement, for sustainable social enterprises. An emergent model of leadership and local engagement in driving the sustainability of CBTEs is proposed. It implies an importance of CBTE leadership as a critical factor that helps preserve community endowments (e.g., historical sites and cultural heritage) as well as develops social capital. The local engagement with a good sense of ownership and community participation is the key enabler toward sustainable tourism. The results also suggest how-to processes in cultivating sustainable social enterprises in practice and toward policy implications.
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Economic policies tend to downplay social and community considerations in favour of market-led and business-focussed support. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for greater and deeper social cohesion and local social support networks while highlighting that an overreliance on market forces can create social problems at times of need. Community businesses (CBs) are not for profit organisations that provide services and produce goods where the profit (or surplus) is reinvested back into that community. This article explores why CBs in England responded in a variety of ways to the COVID-19 pandemic, assesses what government policy did to help and hinder their place-based operations, and explores the observed socioeconomics of their age-related volunteer staff churn. Some CBs were ravaged by the consequences of the pandemic and associated government policies with many becoming unsustainable, while others evolved and augmented their support for and services to their communities, thereby enhancing their community’s resilience. We highlight how adjustments to government policies could enhance the sustainability of CBs, making them and the communities they serve more resilient.
In Italy, civic actors' engagement and bottom-up experiences related to public buildings revitalisation is considered a new potential alternative for urban renovation processes. The changes after the economic crisis brought to question traditional planning methods, especially the one related to public buildings' renovation and re-use. In fact, what emerges is that the economic shortage and the inadequate regulation of public agencies have highlighted difficulties in managing this issue. In this context, a new trend of innovative and hybrid actions starts to raise spontaneously and, at the beginning, from the bottom-up. This array of different practices, pursued by "civic actors", has been at the centre of political and social debate. There are two main perspectives to consider this new phenomenon. The first one is considering civic actors' engagement in revitalisation processes as a potential alternative to public buildings' privatisation or disposals. The second one, is considering these kind of activities and practices as the only way to solve the problem of abandoned and unused public buildings.
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Looking at different European case studies, this special section aims to investigate how and why national and local agendas have embedded community entrepreneurship practices in urban development strategies and which outcomes they have experienced. The twofold objective is to question: (1) the policy rationales behind community entrepreneurship agendas, factors and tools that have promoted entrepreneurial initiatives in urban contexts and how these have determined social and economic developments; (2) new theoretical frameworks able to improve the understanding of community engagement practices and outcomes, bridging the knowledge gap on the relationships between entrepreneurship, citizen participation, and possible urban development agendas.
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