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Re-routing development in peripheral regions: exploiting anchor institution networks for micro/SME enterprise growth and innovation

Carolyn Downs (Department of Marketing, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)
Mike Ryder (Department of Marketing, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)
T. Bartosz Kalinowski (Faculty of Management, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 10 July 2023

Issue publication date: 18 July 2023

89

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the socio-cultural barriers to enterprise in economically disadvantaged communities across five countries: UK, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.

Design/methodology/approach

This study’s EU-funded project took the form of community-based participatory action research. This study focusses on the data from the interviews and network mapping exercises. A total of 40 individual interviews took place, with interviewees from communities with entrenched disadvantage and limited opportunities for employment and education and low rates of business start-ups.

Findings

The research shows that barriers to entrepreneurship can be overcome where a trusted representative (or “mediator”) can act as a bridge, facilitating access to new knowledge and networks. This approach can be used to support micro/SMEs for growth and innovation. In targeting these businesses, policymakers need to recognise the power imbalances between actors and take steps to overcome these, by establishing links with community-based mediators who can act as trusted interlocutors, enabling sustainable relationships to be developed.

Originality/value

This research targets many often hard-to-reach groups and offers insights into the lived experiences of those who often operate at the peripheries. In doing so, it shows how trusted individuals can be used to remove barriers and promote growth, making clear links between theory to practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclosure statement: The authors report there are no competing interests to declare.

Funding: This project was funding by three European Commission grants. The three funding codes are: 2019-1-UK01-KA202-061939, 2020-2- KA204-3B075CEF, 527949-llp-2012-uk-leonardo-lmp.

Citation

Downs, C., Ryder, M. and Kalinowski, T.B. (2023), "Re-routing development in peripheral regions: exploiting anchor institution networks for micro/SME enterprise growth and innovation", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 485-500. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-09-2022-0085

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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