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

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

This introductory chapter discusses the rationale for connecting entrepreneurship with neighbourhoods and homes, presents the objectives and key questions of this volume and provides an overview of the book chapters. Major economic and societal changes that have led to an increase in micro businesses and non-farm self-employment are outlined and literatures and concepts in entrepreneurship research and urban and neighbourhood studies that are useful for understanding these changes discussed. The chapter highlights the home as entrepreneurial space and the household as unit of analysis for entrepreneurship studies. It argues that cities are places of small-scale businesses of all sorts, including home-based or mobile online businesses, that they accommodate a considerable self-employed workforce and that therefore scholars, policymakers and practitioners have to look beyond central business districts, high streets and designated business areas to detect and promote entrepreneurship in cities.

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Nick Bailey

This chapter examines the place of the neighbourhood in relation to entrepreneurial processes. It explores these processes from the perspective of research on housing and neighbourhoods, and it does so with a particular interest in more deprived neighbourhoods and the potential for entrepreneurial activities to contribute to the regeneration of these locations. The chapter argues that the neighbourhood retains an important place in daily lives as a realm of social interaction and relationships. It explores how the neighbourhood may influence entrepreneurial processes in a number of ways. It looks at the neighbourhood as a potential influence on attitudes to entrepreneurship and the decision to start a business, and in terms of the environment or resources it provides for entrepreneurial success, including resources accessed through social capital or networks. It also examines how entrepreneurial concerns may impact on neighbourhood choice and hence the consequences for sorting processes. In relation to more deprived neighbourhoods, it argues that it is difficult to avoid the general conclusion that these have not only less entrepreneurial potential by virtue of the population, but also a more difficult environment. Nevertheless, it concludes that we should not understate the importance or the potential of entrepreneurial activities for deprived neighbourhoods, and that we should recognise diverse forms of entrepreneurship which are already an asset in these areas.

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William A. V. Clark

Neighbourhoods are an enduring part of the wider urban structure and behaviours within it. Those spatial structures are an important defining aspect of where we live and how we live, and, even as our behaviours change with emerging technology and opportunities, they are still central to our lives. Although entrepreneurial activity in residential neighbourhoods is relatively new, this chapter suggests how growing home-based businesses are probably elements of change in urban neighbourhoods. In particular it re-examines the work–residence relationship in the light of growing ‘work-at-home’ behaviour, which of course is intimately connected with the internet and its reach. The chapter argues that the creation of cheap and ubiquitous computing is in part fuelling the home-based industry growth. Just how deep and far the internet explosion is driving home-based businesses is as yet unclear, but there is no doubt that software development has revolutionised much of the entrepreneurial activity, including that which is apparent in home-based activities. The chapter draws on US Census data for metropolitan areas. It argues that neighbourhoods are the context within which we organise our work–residence relationships and that they are probably undergoing a new set of changes with the emergence of home-based entrepreneurial activity. Digital technology is changing the way we work and the likelihood of home-based entrepreneurial activity, even if it is only for a selected population.

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Anne Green, Maria de Hoyos, Sally-Anne Barnes, Beate Baldauf and Heike Behle

In the context of developments in information and communications technologies (ICTs) there is growing interest in opportunities for internet-enabled entrepreneurship. As the internet and ICTs have extended their reach in the economic and social spheres, so they have opened new possibilities and practices in the organisation, content and conduct of work and skills development, how work is contracted and where and how it is undertaken. The internet can alter the contours of labour markets and potentially change how individuals interact with them by broadening access to opportunities and enabling remote and mobile working. This chapter explores conceptually what ICT and internet-enabled work means for the location of work at local, national and international levels, drawing on a review of the literature and on findings from case study research with users of selected internet-enabled platforms. It focuses particularly on ‘crowdsourcing’ – defined broadly as an online-mediated exchange that allows users (organisations or individuals) to access other users via the internet to solve specific problems, to undertake specific tasks or to achieve specific aims. It outlines the diversity and key features of internet-enabled working and implications for the location of work and for entrepreneurship. It addresses two important questions: 1) how and whether internet-enabled working enables workers and businesses to operate in global marketplaces, so superseding the confines of neighbourhoods and local labour markets; and 2) how and whether such forms of work can foster local embeddedness by offering opportunities for entrepreneurship from a home location. It is concluded that crowdsourcing has contradictory relationships with space, since it can provide access to global opportunities, while at the same time enabling local work, as well as issues of flexibility and autonomy.

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Alan Southern and Geoff Whittam

Neoliberal perspectives heavily influence the language and outcomes from the enterprise and entrepreneurship agenda. While in recent years there has been a challenge to the market-driven functionalist approach to understanding enterprise, particularly from the Scandinavian School, which prioritises narrative, the primacy attached to enterprise has remained essentially neoliberal. The Left appear to have acquiesced in this discourse, and both sets of views coalesce around the characteristics of enterprise, with, for example, profit seeking and exploitation referring to the same sets of activity although from a different perspective. In this chapter we argue how entrepreneurship and place can be examined through collective enterprising activities that exist in urban communities across the UK and beyond and that provide the basis to re-appropriate language and action in this domain. This chapter highlights entrepreneurial activity which is based on collectivism and solidarity rather than the actions of individual entrepreneurs. It does so using case study research in Liverpool and Glasgow. This demonstrates the resilience and resistance that can accompany enterprise and entrepreneurship in urban communities.

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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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Veronique Schutjens, Gerald Mollenhorst and Beate Volker

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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Heike Hanhörster, Sabine Weck and Ivonne Fischer-Krapohl

Research on migrants’ location choice generally focuses on either the residential location choice or the business location choice of migrant entrepreneurs, while little attention has been paid to the interrelationship between the two. This chapter examines this interrelationship, using second-generation Turkish entrepreneurs as an example. Empirical evidence is based on qualitative interviews with entrepreneurs, including home-based entrepreneurs in urban neighbourhoods in Germany’s Ruhr region. Special attention is paid to the location choice of those migrant entrepreneurs who have set up their businesses or remained in neighbourhoods with high migrant concentrations, as opposed to those in predominantly German neighbourhoods. The empirical analysis is structured by the evolving themes of market access, social embeddedness and family embeddedness. The findings point to some well-known aspects, as acknowledged in the relevant literature explaining business location choice in neighbourhoods with high migrant concentrations, such as proximity to customers, market potential or the availability of cheap business premises. The findings also confirm the relevance of local networks and social embeddedness in explaining residential and business location choice. The relevance of the family context and the convenience of a firm’s proximity to the entrepreneur’s home also play a role. However, these factors cannot wholly explain decisions on where entrepreneurs choose to live and work. The findings show that the lack of access to certain segments of the housing market and commercial premises market as a result of discrimination or social distance influences decision making.

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Franz Flögel and Stefan Gärtner

This chapter approaches deprived neighbourhoods as a resource for business activities. It develops the concept of ‘spatial enterprise’ based on non-traditional entrepreneurial concepts that do not incorporate space (for example, the social enterprise concept). It discusses whether, and in which ways, underused spaces are an important resource for the success of enterprises in deprived urban neighbourhoods. The formation, development and impact of enterprises in deprived neighbourhoods in two German cities are investigated. The eight case studies show that insufficiently used spatial resources, for example an abandoned church, are important for the formation and success of enterprises in these areas. Place-based networks are relevant in most, but not all, cases. Social impact in the neighbourhoods was created by the acquisition and re-use of vacant buildings, the organisation of cultural events, the supply of services for specific local demands, or support for socially disadvantaged people. The chapter concludes that spatial enterprises help improve and stabilise deprived neighbourhoods, because they can gain advantages from apparently disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and these enterprises create social impact in deprived neighbourhoods in return.