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The Benefits of Enterprise Hubs as a Mechanism for Supporting Rural Businesses

16/09/2021 at 12:15 - 13:15

Dr Ian Merrell: The Benefits of Enterprise Hubs as a Mechanism for Supporting Rural Businesses


The entrepreneurial process is seen to be affected by a range of social, institutional and spatial factors. Rural areas are seen to have unique social and institutional contexts due to their particular spatial characteristics (Korsgaard et al., 2015), revolving around lower levels of proximity between businesses. This results in isolated entrepreneurs, lacking professional and social networks (Eschker et al, 2017). Rural enterprise hubs are interventions designed to help aid the entrepreneurial process and overcome the challenges of operating in a low proximity environment. They are physical infrastructures providing a suite of services that rural entrepreneurs often lack. The benefits of the hubs are explored through the experiences of the hub tenants, managers and a range of regional development officers in the North East of England, following a case study approach. Hubs were found to provide ‘first order’ (improvements to their business and wellbeing and increased networking opportunities) and ‘second order’ (acquiring new knowledge and forming collaborations) benefits to a wide range of businesses who were operating in a diverse mix of sectors, with mixed attitudes towards growth. These benefits were seen to help facilitate rural entrepreneurs to establish or grow their businesses.

Dr Ian Merrell is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) and National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) at Newcastle University.

The webinar will take place on the Zoom platform which may require registration. This is free and we recommend that you do so in advance to avoid disappointment.

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