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Neo-rural small entrepreneurs’ motivations and challenges in Portugal’s low density regions

Ubyrajara Brasil Dal Bello (CETRAD Unit Research, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Carla Marques (CETRAD Unit Research, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Octávio Sacramento (CETRAD Unit Research, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Anderson Galvão (CETRAD Unit Research, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal and ESTG, Polytechnic of Porto, Felgueiras, Portugal)

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

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 28 June 2021

Issue publication date: 29 November 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study sought to fill a gap in the literature by examining the dynamics of neo-rural small entrepreneurs’ business activities as little research has been done on these individuals. The research was conducted in three of Portugal’s low density territories (i.e. Miranda do Douro, Penamacor and Aljezur), focusing on understanding these outsider entrepreneurs’ main motivations and challenges after they decide to leave the city to settle in rural areas and become small business owners.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected in semi-structured interviews with 26 neo-rural entrepreneurs. The multiple-case study method was applied to assess the differences and similarities between the interviewees and their respective contexts. NVivo 11.0 software was used to conduct content analysis.

Findings

The results reveal that rural environments appear to attract these new entrepreneurs for various reasons, such as taking advantage of business opportunities, searching for a better quality of life and responding to family needs. The multiple motives contributing to the need for change and entrepreneurship fit well within social cognitive theory. However, these individuals subsequently experience difficulties related mainly to a lack of infrastructure, little preexisting knowledge, a need for financial capital and the absence of the right workforce.

Originality/value

The findings on the experiences, difficulties and challenges of neo-rural entrepreneurs constitute new contributions because few existing studies have concentrated on migration and/or immigration entrepreneurship in rural contexts. The results can serve as a starting point for other similar studies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by national funds, through the FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under the project UIDB/04011/2020.

Citation

Dal Bello, U.B., Marques, C., Sacramento, O. and Galvão, A. (2022), "Neo-rural small entrepreneurs’ motivations and challenges in Portugal’s low density regions", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 900-923. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-04-2021-0047

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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