Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Entrepreneurial in-migrants and economic development in rural England
Authors: Bosworth, Gary
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Rural England is changing both socially and economically. A key trend of recent decades has been counterurbanisation - the movement of people from urban to more rural areas. Rural research has tended to focus on the implications of counterurbanisation for local rural people, rural services and lifestyles. Counterurbanisation has brought new people to rural areas, but also new wealth, ideas and business activity. With neo-endogenous approaches to rural development gaining prominence in advanced economies, this thesis focuses on in-migrant microbusiness owners as locally embedded individuals with extra-local connections. New analysis of an existing database of almost 1,300 microbusinesses in the rural North East was conducted to contrast the characteristics and economic contributions of businesses with local and in-migrant owners. This data was supplemented by in-depth personal interviews with a sample of 40 microbusiness owners, allowing questions about individuals' motivations and networks of relations to be explored further. Over half of rural microbusinesses in the North East are owned by in-migrants - defined as having moved at least 30 miles into their current rural locality during adult life. The research has found that, on average, in-migrant business owners have higher academic qualifications, are quicker to adopt new technologies and are more likely to use business advice organisations. They are also more likely to pursue business growth and they conduct more trade beyond the local region than local business owners. There is little difference in the number of staff employed by microbusinesses owned by locals or in-migrants. Microbusinesses with local owners also have slightly higher turnovers so it is important to recognise the value of all types of rural businesses. However, the data shows that microbusinesses owned by in-migrants account for 6% of full-time jobs in the rural economy of the North East and their stronger growth orientation implies that they will continue to be vital components of modern rural economies. Over time, in-migrants become embedded into their local communities, recognising the importance of local networks and relations for both business and personal needs. In some cases conscious, purposive actions are taken but valuable networks are also created passively, from the informal interactions of daily life. Local knowledge and the ability to trust and co-operate with local people are both valuable. Through this co-operation and integration, local people and businesses also benefit from exchanges of knowledge and opportunities. The thesis argues that what it terms "commercial counterurbanisation" is leading to the emergence of a diverse range of business activity in rural areas. With strong local and extra-local connections, these businesses are stimulating sustainable rural development which is, in large part, compensating for the decline in traditional rural economic activities.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Bosworth, G. 2008.pdfThesis16.04 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.