Iomall: sustainability and small enterprises in Scotland’s remote rural ‘margins’

Kathryn Burnett, Mike Danson, Geoff Whittam

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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This paper offers a critical yet timely commentary on the nature of sustainability narratives in reference to current small business enterprise in remote Scotland with a key focus on ‘place context’ and the complex interplay of social and material resources. After reviewing the academic and policy literature supporting a qualitative approach to explore lived entrepreneurship and enterprise in remote places, the analysis is based on desk-based research, in-depth interviews with key informants and entrepreneurs of key sectors for the economies of Scotland’s remote communities. Data are analysed systematically to identify emergent themes. The findings identify the extent of ‘co-production’ narratives of sustainability informed by ‘localness’ in areas that are typically ‘rural’ yet particularly ‘remote’ and where ‘margin’ as an idea and as practice is appropriated and deployed to demonstrate entrepreneurial effect. ‘Survival’ is revisited and reflections on its place within enterprise narrative as ‘margins’ are redefined; remoteness is confirmed as increasingly celebrated as a sustainable reality. The evolution and transformation of these remote and fragile economies is under-researched and the policies of the core and urban applied without recognition of the different requirements and challenges faced in the periphery. The research should have implications for communities, development and business support agencies, informing the policymakers and practitioners and adding value to their operations and strategic interventions.

KEY WORDS: Sustainability; remote rural; margins; periphery; enterprise; co-production
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2019
Event17th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference - Inverness Town House, Inverness, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jun 201919 Jun 2019


Conference17th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • enterprise
  • rural


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