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Building social capital for societal entrepreneurship


  • Hans Westlund


  • Malin Gawell



By entrepreneurial combinations of voluntary resources, project means from public and private sources, commissions on contracts and other ways of financing, the youth house "Fryshuset", with a great number of social activities for primarily young people in Stockholm, Sweden, has been able to allocate resources for establishing and expanding its activities. This development would not have been possible without struggle against established norms, values, traditions and institutions, not least the informal monopoly that the public sector in practice was having on the fields in which "Fryshuset" emerged. Step by step, "Fryshuset" has built partnerships and alliances with public, private as well as civil actors. Expressed in a general way, "Fryshuset" has built a new social capital, with new links and networks among actors that formerly did not cooperate, and created new norms and values for the carrying through of activities among exposed groups. In a success story like that of "Fryshuset", problems and difficulties might easily be forgotten. A fundamental problem for partnerships and other collaboration across sectoral boundaries is that organizations in different sectors have different aims and thus act according to different principles. These differences lead to the forming of social capitals with important differences in values and networks between the various sectors. Finding a common denominator for establishing collaboration and building a cross-sectoral social capital is thus not an easy task. "Fryshuset" has found entrepreneurial ways to solve this problem. The aim of the paper is to investigate how "Fryshuset" has managed to change established norms, values, traditions and institutions and been able to form a new social capital for the necessary partnerships and alliances. What actors and values etc. have been easy or hard to change? Which partnerships and alliances has been stable and/or been made permanent and which have been unstable and/or dissolved - and what have been the reasons? How has "Fryshuset" marketed itself and its activities towards potential partners?

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Westlund & Malin Gawell, 2011. "Building social capital for societal entrepreneurship," ERSA conference papers ersa10p190, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p190

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Audretsch & Max Keilbach, 2005. "Entrepreneurship capital and regional growth," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 39(3), pages 457-469, September.
    2. Hans Westlund & Frane Adam, 2009. "Social Capital and Economic Performance: A Meta-analysis of 65 Studies," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(6), pages 893-919, November.
    3. Westlund, Hans & Bolton, Roger, 2003. "Local Social Capital and Entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 77-113, September.
    4. Hans Westlund, 2011. "Multidimensional entrepreneurship: theoretical considerations and Swedish empirics," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 199-218, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandra Buercher, Antoine Habersetzer, Heike Mayer, 2015. "Entrepreneurship in Peripheral Regions: A Relational Perspective," Diskussionsschriften credresearchpaper06, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft - CRED.
    2. Giacomo, Degli Antoni & Fabio, Sabatini, 2013. "Disentangling the relationship between nonprofit and social capital: the role of social cooperatives and social welfare associations in the development of networks of strong and weak ties," MPRA Paper 44860, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:315-:d:128834 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Matthew Roskruge & Jacques Poot & Laura King, 2016. "Social capital, entrepreneurship and living standards: differences between migrants and the native born," Chapters,in: Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development, chapter 9, pages 221-254 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Maryline Filippi, 2014. "Using the Regional Advantage: French Agricultural Cooperatives' Economic and Governance Tool," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(4), pages 597-615, December.

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