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The Citipreneur: How a local entrepreneur creates public value through smart technologies and strategies

Zsuzsanna Tomor (School of Governance, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 15 March 2019

Issue publication date: 12 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of local entrepreneurs, embedded in both the civil and the business arena, in creating public value by establishing strategic collaboration around smart technologies.


The paper suggests a novel – the local entrepreneurial – type of smart bottom-up initiative between civil grassroots and market-based initiatives. This idea is further evolved in the paper to define the patterns of this alternative type of smart bottom-up initiative. For this purpose, the paper conducts a case study of a community-based sustainable energy and mobility system launched by a local entrepreneur in Utrecht, the Netherlands.


The local entrepreneur has played a catalyzing role in public value creation by initiating and upscaling cooperative practices around smart technologies. This success has mainly been achieved due to the entrepreneurial attitudes of pioneering and risk-taking as well as the capability to bridge between the state, the market and society to accelerate urban sustainability transition.

Practical implications

This paper offers a practical illustration of the potential of local entrepreneurs to evolve cooperative practices with smart technologies for societal change. It also shows the vital role of local governments in the achievement of bottom-up initiatives contributing to urban smartness. However, in the case of commercializing initiatives, governments also need to take a balancing role to safeguard the needs of all citizens based on fairness and equity, which is at the core of public value creation.


The study adds to the citizen participation literature by revealing a novel type of active citizen grasping technological opportunities to mobilize networks to cooperate for the collective good. The research also contributes to a better understanding of the bottom-up smart city as a form of governance, and its advantages as well as drawbacks concerning public value creation.



Tomor, Z. (2019), "The Citipreneur: How a local entrepreneur creates public value through smart technologies and strategies", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 508-529.



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