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


  • Robert Blackburn
  • Monder Ram


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Blackburn & Monder Ram, 2006. "Fix or fixation? The contributions and limitations of entrepreneurship and small firms to combating social exclusion," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 73-89, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:entreg:v:18:y:2006:i:1:p:73-89
    DOI: 10.1080/08985620500419566

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsoctx:v:7:y:2017:i:3:p:20-:d:110367 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bird, Miriam & Wennberg, Karl, 2016. "Why family matters: The impact of family resources on immigrant entrepreneurs' exit from entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 687-704.
    3. Arshed, Norin, 2017. "The origins of policy ideas: The importance of think tanks in the enterprise policy process in the UK," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 74-83.
    4. repec:ids:ijesbu:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:570-589 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Thompson Piers & Jones-Evans Dylan & Kwong Caleb, 2012. "Entrepreneurship in Deprived Urban Communities: The Case of Wales," Entrepreneurship Research Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-33, January.
    6. Nadia Simoes & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira, 2016. "Individual Determinants Of Self-Employment Entry: What Do We Really Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 783-806, September.
    7. Roy, Michael J. & Baker, Rachel & Kerr, Susan, 2017. "Conceptualising the public health role of actors operating outside of formal health systems: The case of social enterprise," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 144-152.
    8. Reinout Kleinhans & Maarten Van Ham, 2017. "The support paradox in community enterprise experiments in the Netherlands," International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 31(4), pages 570-589.
    9. Fairchild, Gregory B., 2010. "Intergenerational ethnic enclave influences on the likelihood of being self-employed," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 290-304, May.
    10. McKeever, Edward & Jack, Sarah & Anderson, Alistair, 2015. "Embedded entrepreneurship in the creative re-construction of place," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 50-65.

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