A taxonomy of rural micro-enterprises: Disembedded or bedrock of the community

Karen Wilson, Shelley Harrington, Alex Kevill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper develops a taxonomy of rural micro-enterprises based on their level of embeddedness in the rural. Drawing upon 19 in-depth narrative interviews we identify the classifications of ‘bedrock’, ‘anchored’, ‘disembedded’ and ‘perfunctory’ enterprises. This offers a new categorisation of rural micro enterprises and challenges the notion that all rural micro-enterprises add value to the rural economy. Indeed, ‘disembedded’ rural micro-enterprises may have parasitical tendencies and be negative contributors to rural economic sustainability due to the actions and choices made by the owner-manager(s). Through the creation of an empirically and conceptually grounded taxonomy we reveal a number of important attributes which develop understanding of the nature of rural micro enterprises and highlight the varied activities of such businesses. The implications of the taxonomy are discussed, and important policy implications are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Early online date12 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2022


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