Social Capital and Network Building for Enterprise in Rural Areas: Can Festivals and Special Events Contribute?

Pickernell, David, O'Sullivan, Diane, Senyard, Julienne M., & Keast, Robyn L. (2007) Social Capital and Network Building for Enterprise in Rural Areas: Can Festivals and Special Events Contribute? In 30th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference, 7 - 9 November 2007, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Objectives This paper explores social capital and network building in rural areas, its importance in enterprise creation and development, and the role which festivals and events can thus play in this process. Prior Work Previous work has highlighted that social capital and networking can be important factors in entrepreneurship (both general and social enterprise related) activities and their success (e.g. Daviddsson and Honig, 2003). Rural areas have traditionally been seen as having a relative dearth of these on which to build, creating a perceived need for policy in this area to create the conditions for effective social capital and network building (Senyard et al, 2007). In addition, there is considerable evidence of entrepreneurial families acting as ‘catalysts in the rural wealth creation process, positively contributing social and financial capital to rural and peripheral communities and local economies’ (Morrison 2006). As part of this, small tourist firms in rural areas often ‘strive to put something back’ into their communities, helping to create additional social capital, and they can also be ‘adept and agile in the face of crises’ such as Foot and Mouth. Also Sharpley (2003) argues that the in the UK countryside tourism has become a more powerful force than agriculture and that sustainable countryside policy and financial support must therefore be adjusted to account for this change. Approach The issues surrounding social capital and network building as they apply to rural areas, entrepreneurship and social enterprise are outlined. The potential use of festivals and events in this process is then explored, both in the literature, and then using a survey of the activities of the 22 unitary authorities in Wales regarding festivals and events. Results The results highlight that the vast majority of festivals and events are local in scope, and strongly focus on social capital building. They are also strongly correlated with self employment and rurality. In terms of resourcing there is evidence that local (entrepreneurial) resources are supplementing or replacing those from unitary authorities so supporting the notion that social capital and entrepreneurial activity in rural areas are mutually supportive activities.
Implications Implications include the need to evaluate festivals and events in more sophisticated ways than the traditional economic impact or marketing focus. In this way it may be possible to develop approaches to maximise the social capital building aspects which are most suited to social and general entrepreneurial activity. Value The value is that festivals and events in the rural periphery do have the capacity to make significant contribution to the social capital of their communities, and through this, to entrepreneurial activities generally.

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ID Code: 13201
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Social Capital, Networks, Social, Enterprise, Festivals, Events
ISBN: 9781900862035
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 31 Mar 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:40

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