The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize and outline the social infrastructure that nurtures and strengthens cooperation in business networks promoting cultural tourism and thereby facilitates entrepreneurial learning. The role of the higher-education (HE) provider is emphasized on different levels of the value-creating framework.
To explore and analyze the benefits of cooperation in business networks promoting cultural tourism as perceived by entrepreneurs, participants in the fields of both culture and tourism in two workshops were observed. From the information produced in the workshops, ethnographically oriented data were selected.
Benefits that inspired cooperation among the members of the tourism business network were identified, which were categorized as functional, relational and symbolic. On the functional level, the actors involved, the entrepreneurs, considered it important to have an opportunity to meet and discuss in a stimulating atmosphere. The role of the HE provider at this stage was that of a facilitator, in other words, to set the scene. On the level of relational cooperation it was more important to foster relations between the network actors, and the provider’s role changed to that of a matchmaker. On the symbolic level, it is essential that all parties of the cooperation work together to find new business solutions based on common values. At this stage, the role of the HE provider is that of a co-creator.
As a case study, this research represents the local context of entrepreneurial cooperation in business networks promoting cultural tourism. Further study is needed to develop a framework that encompasses change in the traditional roles of the learning environment.
Teaching and training approaches derive from the contexts in which micro and small businesses and their networks learn. HE offers students a safe environment in which to experiment and innovate, thereby linking student academic work to “real-life” project performance.
Interaction/network theory is combined with the discussion on entrepreneurial learning.
Nieminen, L. and Lemmetyinen, A. (2015), "A value-creating framework for enhancing entrepreneurial learning in networks", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 76-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-04-2013-0012
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