Examining the characteristics, philosophies, operating practices and growth strategies of village entrepreneurs

Robert Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)


The literature of entrepreneurship has an urban bias, focusing on successful high growth companies and despite the emergence of the rural entrepreneurship literature, we know little about the characteristics, philosophies, operating practices and growth strategies of ordinary village entrepreneurs’ in a UK context. As a concept, the ‘village entrepreneur’ per se is contentious as theoretically there should be little difference between the urban and rural entrepreneur. Nevertheless, there is! The concept is important because many villages are in decline and are marginal places, in terms of entrepreneurial opportunity.

Methodological approach
A review of the fragmented literature synthesises and develops a greater understanding of the topic. Drawing on a ‘Life Story’ approach the empirical strand comprises of an analysis of ethnographic interviews with five village entrepreneurs.

The respondents did not consider themselves entrepreneurs whom they characterised as being flash, rogues and even crooked. Their embedded village entrepreneur persona is built around tales-of-character, hard-work and perseverance. Embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality were key themes encountered. They prided themselves in making ‘slow money’ which they retain over their lifetime.

From a research perspective, the findings are based on a limited sample and the study was not specifically designed to capture data on characteristics, philosophies and operating practices. Further research on a larger scale is necessary to validate the findings. From a practical perspective policy makers require to consider the notions of embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality when considering implementing growth strategies in rural areas.

This study contributes to the growing literature of rural entrepreneurship by expanding existing typologies of rural entrepreneurs and by detailing suitable philosophies, operating practices, and growth strategies appropriate for small village and rural businesses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-725
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2017


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