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Entrepreneurship and social and community care

Elisabeth Sundin (Department of Management and Engineering and Helix Excellence Centre, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to show that not only (obviously) social enterprises but also conventional ones are based on social intentions and that these social intentions often have community dimensions. The conclusion of these findings is that conventional research, and consequently, also the public debate on entrepreneurship as well as on social and community entrepreneurship, is guided by false notions rather than on empirical facts.


The paper starts by presenting the dominating references on entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and community entrepreneurship and then goes on to compare them. The existence of social motives among conventional enterprises is brought to the fore, first through a presentation of the official statistics of the motives for all new starters in Sweden and then with a presentation of cases from different sectors. The cases selected to represent the starters have all expressed social motives for going into business. “Care” was the word used by the individuals themselves and therefore the care concept is introduced.


Social intentions can be found in conventional market enterprises. The intentions of the entrepreneurs' are often expressed in terms of “care”. Care for the community is often an important part of other care dimensions.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical findings of care in conventional market enterprises and care for the community as an important care dimension in the cases presented have implications not only for theories on conventional, social and community entrepreneurship but also for theory building in social sciences in general. The dominance of English‐speaking researchers can be a problem from this perspective.

Practical implications

Both the descriptions and the analysis have practical implications for everyone interested in entrepreneurship and the circumstances for enterprises of all kinds as well as for local and regional development.


The paper questions what is taken‐for‐granted, with the help of empirical examples and not just with statements.



Sundin, E. (2011), "Entrepreneurship and social and community care", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 212-222.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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