Enterprise and Entrepreneurship on Islands and Remote Rural Environments

Mike Danson, Kathryn Burnett

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Although there has been increasing interest in rural and cultural enterprises, relatively little has been written on enterprise and entrepreneurship in the specific environments of islands. As well as having all the issues facing SMEs and new start-ups of rural areas anywhere, enterprises on islands tend to face different, additional and exaggerated problems. However, there is but sparse material published on these firms nor how entrepreneurs and agencies cope with the harsher business environment. While there is a significant general literature in the multidisciplinary island studies, social science research tends to focus on sociological and anthropological descriptions of life with limited consideration of enterprises and entrepreneurs.

    The research, policy and practice literature on island enterprises and entrepreneurs is reviewed. The role and activities of economic and cultural development agencies and strategies, at EU, national and regional levels is introduced given their particular relevance in such remote and often isolated communities. The significance of the dominant paradigm founded on agglomeration, clusters, connectivity, proximity and competitiveness in the peripheralisation of those establishing and running businesses on islands is explored. This is contrasted with experiences from comparative northern European locations of smart specialisation, innovation and resilience, and the underpinning key role of social capital, relationships and cultural values and norms is analysed. Specific sectoral case studies and cultural enterprises are studied to explore these issues in context.

    The research confirms that, even with the advances in ITC and internet connections, there are disadvantages in these distant locations but that the characteristics of remoteness and otherness provide some countervailing benefits to entrepreneurs. Both directly through cultural enterprises and indirectly through their contribution to maintaining local distinctive cultures, there is demonstrated to be a need for policies and strategies to be proofed for locational differences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2015
    EventThe Safeguarding and Promoting of Sea and Island Culture of Vietnam. International Conference. - Nha Trang City, Viet Nam
    Duration: 5 Jan 20156 Jan 2015


    ConferenceThe Safeguarding and Promoting of Sea and Island Culture of Vietnam. International Conference.
    Country/TerritoryViet Nam
    CityNha Trang City


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