Social innovation has gained an important position in policy agendas at the international, national, and local levels. The article investigates two empirical cases of local social entrepreneurship initiatives in two comparable small towns located in Norway and in Sweden. These projects endeavour for social integration of young persons into education programmes and adult persons into work. Through these empirical cases, this article aims to conceive how place conditions the capacities and practices of social entrepreneurship. The place-based approach of the discussion shows how the interplay of local and multiscalar relations impacts social entrepreneurship initiatives.The analysis of the empirical cases involves considering the role of the local context as well as the institutional systems of the welfare states and wider policy regimes endorsing social investment strategies. The discussion employs a model for organisational arrangements focusing on capacities of learning, exploiting, and linking. The capacity of linking across organisations and sector boundaries is found to be a particularly intriguing aspect of the investigated social entrepreneurship initiatives and is something that the place-based approach of the article is able to explicate.
Hermelin B. & Rusten G. (2018) A place-based approach to social entrepreneurship for social integration–Cases from Norway and Sweden. Local Economy, 33(4), 367-383.
Professor in Human Geography
Centre for Municipality Studies (CKS)
Linköping University, Sweden
The interview transcript
Hi welcome to coffee break with researchers.
Today, I’m having a coffee break with Brita Hermelin
she is a professor in Human Geography at the Center for Municipality
Studies CKS at the Linköping University, in Sweden
Hello Brita, thank you for accepting my invitation to a coffee break, how are you doing? I’m doing fine thank you, hi.
Today I’m having a Brazilian black coffee which coffee are you having?
I have an ordinary filter coffee, I think in my cup here today. I am very interested in a paper you wrote about how local conditions affect the social entrepreneurship. Could you please tell me what the paper was about? the paper was about, we compared two cases of social entrepreneurship. These cases were initiatives into small settlements in Sweden and in Norway, so we investigated how these were starting and how they were managed and what type of activities they were doing. I can see that the key concept of your research is social entrepreneurship how would you define it?
Social entrepreneurship is two words entrepreneurship is about starting companies and by innovative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship is also about taking risks and starting new ideas. Social, in social entrepreneurship, is about social implications that this should mean something for society.
Could you please tell me what was the main finding of your research?
There are two main findings, we are both authors for this article is co-author together with Grete Rusten, and we are geographers both of us, so ever interesting in place and scales so starting with scales we could see that these look very very local initiatives are contextualized into multi scale relations. There is a wave internationally about ideals for social entrepreneurship. There are national supporting structures helping people that want to start social entrepreneurship and there are regional and also local policy structures that support this type of initiatives. So those local initiatives could be understood from a very from close relations in multi scale context. So that is the first one, the second one is about that social entrepreneurship relies on social networks, local the place of social networks and those social networks, they are about stability and trust and also closure, on one hand, and on the other hand, these social networks are
about also openness in an innovative relations to new partners.
Thank you for clarifying that, and I will also like to know what was your personal motivation in doing this research?
The general framework for that is the social discussion about sustainable development. And sustainable development is about economic
development, is about ecological sustainable development and also social development. So through this paper we were really interested to understand how economic and social development relate to each other. So the cases we have for this paper, these are settlements with really long and strong history of large manufacturing industry that drive economic development and employment
opportunities for these areas and settlements, but we were also very interested to understand that this also has social implications, it also builds social networks
that can do also social good for the for the local settlements.
That’s indeed very interesting, and based on these findings what would you say is the main policy implication?
Important policy implications is to try from policy side to understand what are the social resources available in the local context, what type of social capital, social relations are there established in the environment that you can encourage to be involved for developing social sustainable of the local environment and
that needs to include different parts of the population because the cases we saw here were in to some extent were dominated by men so it was very one-sided when it comes to gender so for instance it’s important for policy makers to make sure how one can include different parts of society and different groups of society.
Brita I find this topic really interesting, thank you very much for your time again and for having a nice chat with me and I hope to see you next time in a next coffee break.
All right, thank you.
Thank you for watching if you are interested in more details about this publication, find here the link to the academic publication, bye-byeTags: Institutions, linking, Norway, place-based approach, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, Sweden