This paper investigates how rural communities are enriched by entrepreneurial value-creating activities that go beyond job creation and growth. In addition, this study explores how spatial context influences these value-creating activities. This qualitative case-based study shows that rural entrepreneurs create 14 types of value for their communities, ranging from purely economic to socioeconomic and to social value. The reasons why rural entrepreneurs create value, not only for themselves, but value that benefits the community is partly explained by their desire to contribute positively to the place where they have chosen to live and work. Another explanatory factor is a concern for the survival of the community. These motives are found to be influenced by the degree of rurality; that is the more isolated and remote, the more pronounced the attitudes towards and concerns for the well-being of the community. Thus, this study contributes to an in-depth understanding of how and why entrepreneurship can create multiple forms of value in rural areas as well as how value creation behaviours are motivated by the spatial context. In addition, it provides explanations why not all rural entrepreneurs contribute or at least intend to contribute equally and in a similar way to local development. Thus, by adding contextualized explanations of rural entrepreneurial behaviour to the literature, this study places itself in the recent debate and call for contextualizing entrepreneurship research.
Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange Conference 2014 Proceedings, 2014, p. 830-848
value creation; rural entrepreneurship; local and regional development; spatial context