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Fix or fixation? The contributions and limitations of entrepreneurship and small firms to combating social exclusion

  • Robert Blackburn
  • Monder Ram
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    Notions of social inclusion and the need to combat social exclusion have become popular areas of attention in academic and policy circles. The importance of small firms and entrepreneurship as a means to raising inclusion has been emphasized in these new agendas. A priori , there are a number of reasons why small businesses may be regarded as providing opportunities for social inclusion. However, in this paper we argue that the recent expectations of the role of small firms and entrepreneurship in combating social exclusion are over optimistic. Some of the assumptions on which these expectations are based are questioned. Instead, we suggest that attention should start by a clearer understanding of the concept of social exclusion. Individual economic strategies, in the form of small business activity, can make some contribution but because of the complex multidimensional nature of social exclusion, over-inflated claims should be avoided. When these claims are not achieved there may be a danger of a policy backlash against the promotion of business ownership and disaffection amongst those who fail to realize their goals. This paper draws on secondary evidence and concludes with implications for policy and suggestions for further research.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Entrepreneurship & Regional Development.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 73-89

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:entreg:v:18:y:2006:i:1:p:73-89
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