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The Support Paradox in Community Enterprise Experiments in The Netherlands


  • Kleinhans, Reinout

    (Delft University of Technology)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    (Delft University of Technology)


In many European countries, community entrepreneurship is increasingly considered as a means to initiate small-scale urban regeneration. However, residents in deprived communities are often viewed to lack key entrepreneurial attributes and skills. This paper reports a unique experiment in the Netherlands with nascent community enterprises which received start-up support from a private foundation. This paper investigates how active citizens perceive the benefits and drawbacks of this support. In depth analysis of transcriptions of repeated semi-structured interviews (panel design with the same respondents) with representatives of established community enterprises and resident groups were analysed. While we find positive feedback on provided support, our research provides strong evidence for a 'support paradox': the support that was intended to overcome a number of entry barriers and difficulties on the road to community entrepreneurship has in fact significantly hampered progress among several of the studied CEs.

Suggested Citation

  • Kleinhans, Reinout & van Ham, Maarten, 2016. "The Support Paradox in Community Enterprise Experiments in The Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 9625, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9625

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ingmar van Meerkerk & Beitske Boonstra & Jurian Edelenbos, 2013. "Self-Organization in Urban Regeneration: A Two-Case Comparative Research," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(10), pages 1630-1652, October.
    2. Nick Williams & Colin C. Williams, 2012. "Evaluating the socio-spatial contingency of entrepreneurial motivations: A case study of English deprived urban neighbourhoods," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(7-8), pages 661-684, September.
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    5. Scott Shane, 2009. "Why encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs is bad public policy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 141-149, August.
    6. Lyons Thomas S. & Alter Theodore R. & Audretsch David & Augustine Darline, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and Community: The Next Frontier of Entrepreneurship Inquiry," Entrepreneurship Research Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
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    8. Mats A. Lundqvist & Karen L. Williams Middleton, 2010. "Promises of societal entrepreneurship: Sweden and beyond," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(1), pages 24-36, March.
    9. 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.
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    More about this item


    community enterprises; community entrepreneurship; active citizenship; support; urban regeneration; self-organisation; The Netherlands;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • O35 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Social Innovation
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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