Socio‐economic decline in rural areas is a pervasive and debilitating phenomenon in terms of regional development, particularly when former models of economic growth which…
Socio‐economic decline in rural areas is a pervasive and debilitating phenomenon in terms of regional development, particularly when former models of economic growth which once stimulated business generation and regeneration can no longer be counted on to do so. In these austere times, models of social and community enterprise are becoming more important. This corresponds to the emergence of theories of community‐based entrepreneurship and social enterprise as explanatory variables. Such theories are used to label enterprising behaviour enacted within our communities, even when the theoretical arguments underpinning these re‐conceptualisations require to be stretched to permit this. Often the resultant explanations are not entirely convincing. The purpose of this paper is to challenge existing conceptualisations of community‐based entrepreneurship and social enterprise.
Using a case study methodology, the paper reports on the activities of the Buchan Development Partnership (BDP) – a community‐based project situated in the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland – demonstrating how individual and community enterprise can be utilized to develop enterprising individuals and communities by growing enterprises organically. The case articulates this process, as it occurred in a rural development partnership using a narrative‐based case study methodology to examine activities and growth strategies.
The case bridges issues of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial process, community and regional development and tells a story of community regeneration through the process of “Community Animateurship”.
Research, practical and social implications are discussed but in particular the need to adopt a more holistic “bottom up” approach.
This case challenges existing conceptualisations of community‐based entrepreneurship and social enterprise.
The literature of entrepreneurship has an urban focus and despite the emergence of the rural entrepreneurship literature, we know little about the characteristics…
The literature of entrepreneurship has an urban focus and despite the emergence of the rural entrepreneurship literature, we know little about the characteristics, philosophies, operating practices and growth strategies of ordinary village entrepreneurs’ in a UK context. As a concept, the “village entrepreneur” is contentious as theoretically there should be little difference between urban and rural entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, there is! The concept is important because many villages are in decline and are marginal places in terms of entrepreneurial opportunity. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A review of the fragmented literature is conducted to synthesise and develop greater understanding. Drawing on a “life-story” approach the empirical strand comprises of an analysis of five ethnographic interviews with village entrepreneurs.
The respondents did not consider themselves entrepreneurs whom they characterised as flash, rogues and even crooked. Their embedded village entrepreneur persona was constructed around tales-of-character, hard work and perseverance. They prided themselves in making “slow-money” which they retain over their lifetime. Embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality were key themes encountered.
From a research perspective the findings are based on a limited sample and the study was not specifically designed to capture data on characteristics, philosophies and operating practices. Further research on a larger scale is necessary to validate the findings.
From a practical perspective policy makers require to consider the notions of embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality when considering implementing growth strategies in rural areas.
This study contributes to the growing literature of rural entrepreneurship by expanding the typology of rural entrepreneurs and by detailing philosophies, operating practices, and growth strategies suitable and appropriate for small village and rural businesses.