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Small is beautiful? Entrepreneurship ecosystems in small towns of Montana

Yasuyuki Motoyama (Department of City and Regional Planning, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Christina Henderson (Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Missoula, Montana, USA)

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

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 2 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Much of extant literature on entrepreneurship ecosystems is geared toward mid- and large-size metropolitan areas, and small cities are considered disadvantageous without essential elements for the ecosystem. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on understanding how small cities can have vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted 42 semistructured interviews of entrepreneurs and supporters in small towns of Montana, USA. This study also supplemented with a survey of 178 firms.

Findings

Entrepreneurs in small cities enjoy dense support networks including experienced entrepreneurs, key business and civic leaders and elected officials. They also attend entrepreneurial events and establish connections with support organizations with a distance of 200 miles.

Originality/value

The cases in this paper demonstrate that small cities can have vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystems without urban diversity and agglomeration. That additionally means that we should not apply the theoretical framework developed with large urban areas to small cities and consider different models of development for small cities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This project was partially funded by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Citation

Motoyama, Y. and Henderson, C. (2022), "Small is beautiful? Entrepreneurship ecosystems in small towns of Montana", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-08-2022-0122

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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