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Enterprise and Entrepreneurship on Islands

Exploring Rural Enterprise: New Perspectives On Research, Policy & Practice

ISBN: 978-1-78441-112-1, eISBN: 978-1-78441-109-1

ISSN: 2040-7246

Publication date: 4 August 2014



This chapter contributes to addressing the gap in the literature on entrepreneurs and enterprise in island and remote rural environments.


The research, policy and practice literature on island enterprises and entrepreneurs is reviewed, taking Scotland as a focus within wider international contexts. Islands – as spaces and cultural places – are recognised in terms of ‘otherness’ and difference, not least in respect of tourism and culture. The importance of distance, isolation and peripherality is discussed as social constructions – myths and narratives – as well as in their mainstream measured equivalences. Agencies and policies are introduced at different levels and given significance reflecting their particular relevance in remote and isolated communities. The significance of the dominant paradigm founded on agglomeration, clusters, connectivity, proximity and competitiveness in the peripheralisation of those establishing and running businesses on islands is explored critically. This is contrasted with experiences from comparative northern European locations of smart specialisation, innovation and resilience, and the underpinning key roles of social capital, relationships and cultural values and norms are identified. Sectoral case studies and enterprise are offered to examine these issues in context.


As this is an exploratory study, results are neither comprehensive nor definitive. However, they are indicative of how forces and obstacles apply in island and remote rural environments.

Research, practical and social implications

The study confirms the need to recognise social relations locally, and for policies and strategies to be proofed for locational differences.



Danson, M. and Burnett, K. (2014), "Enterprise and Entrepreneurship on Islands", Exploring Rural Enterprise: New Perspectives On Research, Policy & Practice (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-174.



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