Defining and conceptualising rural enterprise

Colette Henry, Gerard McElwee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The objective of this chapter is to lay the foundation for the edited collection of contemporary research contributions contained in this book. Specifically, the chapter is concerned with defining and conceptualising rural entrepreneurship. Methodology – The chapter seeks to explore why and how a rural enterprise can be defined, and determines whether rural entrepreneurship is a distinctive category of entrepreneurship theory and practice. Building on descriptive rural enterprise taxonomies proposed in previous studies, the chapter considers the drivers and barriers impacting on firm start-up, growth and decline in rural environments. Findings – The authors argue that there is little difference between a rural and non-rural enterprise in terms of structure, that is how the business is organised or managed, or how the characteristics of the individual entrepreneur are exhibited. Thus, it would appear that there is no specific category for, nor definition of a rural entrepreneur beyond that of ‘an individual who manages a venture in a rural setting’. Research limitations – The chapter is based mainly on a review of extant literatures. Originality/value – The chapter concludes that it is the exogenous factors that differentiate rural from non-rural ventures, and it is these factors that will have a significant impact on start-up, growth and failure rates.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Rural Enterprise
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on Research, Policy and Practice
EditorsColette Henry, Gerard McElwee
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781784411091
ISBN (Print)9781784411121
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameContemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Print)2040-7246


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