Title: In defence of the neighbourhood: understanding micro-business entrepreneurship, embeddedness and social capital as a means to community well-being

Authors: Alex Trillo; Mary Kate Naatus

Addresses: Department of Sociology and Urban Studies and The Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Saint Peter's University, NJ, USA ' Department of Business Administration, Saint Peter's University, NJ, USA

Abstract: The research here examines the relationship between embeddedness, social capital, and micro-business entrepreneurship in a somewhat worn, yet still active urban neighbourhood of Northern New Jersey. Drawing on observations and in-depth interviews with micro-business owners, we focus on the ways in which connectedness to the neighbourhood shapes business opportunities, decision-making, and longevity. Our findings challenge individual-level explanations of business behaviour and contribute to a growing body of literature concerned with embeddedness and social capital in three ways: we elaborate on the concepts over-embedded and under-embedded to better specify the positions from which owners may be operating. We elaborate on the significance of integrated networks, where there is embeddedness, complemented by external, or arms-length ties. And in a context where the success of micro-businesses is vital to the well-being of the existing community, we conclude with a set of recommendations that call on policy makers, universities and other stakeholders to engage in bolstering the connectedness and social capital of current owners, especially those who are vulnerable to ongoing neighbourhood changes.

Keywords: community well-being; entrepreneurship; micro-business; micro enterprises; social capital; social embeddedness; social networks; urban entrepreneurship; USA; United States; business opportunities; decision making; longevity; connectedness; neighbourhood changes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSEI.2015.072540

International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 2015 Vol.3 No.5, pp.400 - 420

Received: 18 Jun 2015
Accepted: 30 Jul 2015

Published online: 16 Oct 2015 *

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