Transforming the Creative and Social Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Broker Roles of Rural Collaborative Workspaces

Transforming the Creative and Social Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Broker Roles of Rural Collaborative Workspaces

Chen Gao  & Eleonora Psenner

Abstract: Creative social enterprises are increasingly emerging in rural regions, motivated by a desire to take social responsibility through creative approaches. These enterprises integrate entrepreneurial activities with creative social attributes and are sometimes set in rural collaborative workspaces (CWSs) facilitating entrepreneurial activities. Under the frame of entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs), we argue that CWSs can be seen as brokers, who (1) link resources as liaisons, (2) hold and pass resources as gatekeepers, (3) enhance resource flows as coordinators, and (4) reproduce experiences as representatives. Against this backdrop, this paper presents a case study of two creative social enterprises in a CWS with a cooperative structure in rural Upper Austria by analyzing entrepreneurial biographies about the demand and use of entrepreneurial resources. Through a comparison between before and after the emergence of the CWS, the findings suggest that the EE for creative and social entrepreneurship undergoes two different types of transformation, a radical and a gradual one. The brokerage process of the CWS enhances local resource networks’ transformation of EE and brings the transformation in terms of translocal resources and integral EE of enterprises in the CWS. Additionally, the CWS generates social impacts on the local community through social enterprises. This paper contributes to ecosystem literature by introducing an actor-centric perspective and giving new insights into social entrepreneurship and the transformative power of CWSs as brokers.

Keywords: collaborative workspace; broker; entrepreneurial ecosystem; creative social enterprise


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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955907.