Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Rural Europe  book cover
1st Edition

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Rural Europe

ISBN 9780815379973
Published June 24, 2019 by Routledge
232 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Rural Europe investigates how social entrepreneurship advances social innovation in rural Europe and contributes to fighting social and economic challenges in these regions.

Based on longitudinal data collected in four European countries, this book explains how social enterprises enact their business model based on an entrepreneurial reconfiguration of resources they obtain from their network relations, and how their activities empower local communities, driving change and eventually innovation. In these activities, the entrepreneurial mindset and the role as intermediary between different groups and domains of society help to reframe challenges into opportunities. The argument in this book develops from a description of what social enterprises report to do to an analysis of how they do it, and results in an explanation of why they take these actions. In doing so it gradually broadens the view from a focus on the social enterprises themselves to their interactions and network partners and, finally, to their positioning in societal fields. The presented model complements network theory with the concept of strategic action fields. This book reveals the crucial role of social entrepreneurship in innovation in rural regions, and the rich insights provided have far reaching implications for research, practice and policy.

This book will appeal to everyone interested in the interface of social entrepreneurship, innovation, and regional/rural development, either on a practical or academic level.

Table of Contents

1 Rural Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Practice: Case descriptions  2 How Rural Social Enterprises Innovate and Sustain: Potentials and Challenges from the Research Perspective  3 Rural Social Enterprise: An Emerging Strategic Action Field  4 Practitioner’s Voice: Reflections on the Relevance of the Identified Measures for Rural Social Entrepreneurship Practice  5 Key Takeaways: Implications for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Rural Europe

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Ralph Richter is a senior researcher and lecturer. At the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in Erkner/Germany he has conducted the EU funded research project "Social Innovation in Structurally Weak Rural Regions" (RurInno).

Matthias Fink is vice head of the Institute of Innovation at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria and a Professor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ARU Cambridge, UK. In addition, he is academic director of two MBA programs at LIMAK Austrian Business School.

Richard Lang is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Innovation Management at Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, and a Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Social Policy at University of Birmingham, UK.

Daniela Maresch is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark (DK) and an Associate Senior Researcher at the Institute of Innovation Management (IFI) at the Johannes Kepler University Linz (A).


"This represents an insightful exploration of social entrepreneurship issues that operate within peripheral areas of Europe." Robert Newbery, Newcastle University Business School, UK

"A useful crosscutting case study analysis of social entrepreneurship in marginal rural European areas" — Javier Esparcia, University of Valencia, Spain

"Richter et al. bring to the fore the notions of social networks, social capital and strategic action fields in a synergistic manner, because it allows situating social enterprises and their innovations in a regional/rural context. The authors borrow from organizational sociology to complement, refine and further expand novel perspectives in social entrepreneurship that are more sensitive to place."Ewald Kibler, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland and Pablo Muñoz, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, Regional Studies (2020)