Neighbourhoods, Households and Homes
Edited by Colin Mason, Darja Reuschke, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham
Chapter 7: Changing social networks of entrepreneurs in Dutch residential neighbourhoods
In the modern Western world, urban residential neighbourhoods have witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of small-scale businesses, and these businesses are there to stay. For many small entrepreneurs, the neighbourhood offers both a favourable business context and strong and sustainable anchors for economic activities. Entrepreneurs and their firms are affected by the socio-economic neighbourhood characteristics and by their relationships with other local firms, entrepreneurs and residents. A thorough examination of the interdependencies between local networks and the presence and success of local firms requires large-scale longitudinal data on networks of entrepreneurs. This chapter discusses the methods and measurements that enable such examinations. It uses unique data collected among 200 entrepreneurs in Dutch residential neighbourhoods. New findings are presented on changes in the amount of (local) social capital that is present in the networks of these entrepreneurs, measured by the positions or occupations to which entrepreneurs have access. The main findings are that neighbourhood contacts seem to broaden over time, and, in particular, home-based entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs running firms that serve local markets increase their access to local social capital. The chapter concludes that future research should focus on the explanations of the changes in the social networks of (neighbourhood) entrepreneurs and on the link between the types of network change and the location strategy and success of entrepreneurs and their firms.
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