To read this content please select one of the options below:

Innovation as a booster of rural artisan entrepreneurship: a case study of black pottery

Carla Susana Marques (CETRAD Unit Research, Escola de Ciencias Humanas e Sociais, Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Gina Santos (CETRAD Unit Research, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Vanessa Ratten (La Trobe University – Melbourne Campus, Melbourne, Australia)
Ana B. Barros (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 14 September 2018

Issue publication date: 17 May 2019




Rural entrepreneurship is an emergent field of study, with these start-ups becoming one of the most noticeable ways to promote rural development, but the few studies concerning innovation among artisans have thus far only been exploratory. The purpose of this paper is to examine the entrepreneurial artisan initiatives of young innovators in a peripheral northern area of Portugal where black pottery is produced.


Qualitative data analysis was carried out on in-depth semi-structured interviews with three young artisan innovators and entrepreneurs and one individual who functions as a cultural booster. The content analysis was done using QSR International’s NVivo Version 11 software.


These young entrepreneurs have developed commercial activities and introduced innovations (i.e. design and process) into black pottery production, while taking advantage of endogenous materials, local culture and traditional knowledge. These individuals have sought not only to generate their own innovations but also to keep their culture and local traditions alive, thereby contributing to rural development by establishing networks with local young artisans.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations are linked to the sample’s size and basis in a specific geographic reality.

Practical implications

The findings provide a fuller understanding of why some rural artisan firms grow, suggesting that artisans’ networks and innovative and entrepreneurial behaviours play a key role.


This research’s results contribute to the literature on the role that innovation can play as a booster of rural artisanship through networks and entrepreneurship. This paper is among the first to discuss black pottery as a form of artisan entrepreneurship. The results underline the value of innovations and networks, which were found to be the core ingredients in rural artisan entrepreneurship.



Marques, C.S., Santos, G., Ratten, V. and Barros, A.B. (2019), "Innovation as a booster of rural artisan entrepreneurship: a case study of black pottery", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 753-772.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles