1 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Entrepreneurship is a key driver of development in rural areas. Some studies have shown that in-migrants and returnees are overrepresented among rural entrepreneurs, and that their entrepreneurship might be more important for local development than the efforts of local entrepreneurs, at least in terms of economic value creation. Other studies have shown that local embeddedness is a significant source of opportunities for rural entrepreneurs, yet at the same time, over-embeddedness can inhibit entrepreneurial activities. These contrasting studies suggest that some form of mixed embeddedness, of the kind that in-migrants and returnees who find a place in a local rurality are likely to embody, may be particularly conducive to entrepreneurial activity. In this paper we explore the nature and function of mixed embeddedness of rural entrepreneurs. We do this through a qualitative multiple case study of rural entrepreneurs in the Nordic countries. Preliminary results suggest that mixed embeddedness is in fact important and that this may be the reason for the overrepresentation of in-migrants and returnees.