The literature of entrepreneurship has an urban focus and despite the emergence of the rural entrepreneurship literature, we know little about the characteristics, philosophies, operating practices and growth strategies of ordinary village entrepreneurs’ in a UK context. As a concept, the “village entrepreneur” is contentious as theoretically there should be little difference between urban and rural entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, there is! The concept is important because many villages are in decline and are marginal places in terms of entrepreneurial opportunity. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A review of the fragmented literature is conducted to synthesise and develop greater understanding. Drawing on a “life-story” approach the empirical strand comprises of an analysis of five ethnographic interviews with village entrepreneurs.
The respondents did not consider themselves entrepreneurs whom they characterised as flash, rogues and even crooked. Their embedded village entrepreneur persona was constructed around tales-of-character, hard work and perseverance. They prided themselves in making “slow-money” which they retain over their lifetime. Embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality were key themes encountered.
From a research perspective the findings are based on a limited sample and the study was not specifically designed to capture data on characteristics, philosophies and operating practices. Further research on a larger scale is necessary to validate the findings.
From a practical perspective policy makers require to consider the notions of embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality when considering implementing growth strategies in rural areas.
This study contributes to the growing literature of rural entrepreneurship by expanding the typology of rural entrepreneurs and by detailing philosophies, operating practices, and growth strategies suitable and appropriate for small village and rural businesses.
Smith, R. (2017), "Examining the characteristics, philosophies, operating practices and growth strategies of village entrepreneurs", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 708-725. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-10-2016-0350Download as .RIS
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