Supporting entrepreneurship in an urban neighbourhood context: A review of German experiences
In recent years entrepreneurship in urban neighbourhoods, has drawn a growing attention of the research community as well as of urban planning (Mollenhorst et al. 2009). Entrepreneurship research is increasingly focussing on the manifold and intertwined contexts of entrepreneurial activities, such as the background of the enterprising individual, social networks, particular socio-spatial contexts or the cultural context. This combined view on the multifaceted embeddedness of entrepreneurial activities very often discloses strong linkages with their immediate socio-spatial environment (Steyart/Katz 2004). In the field of urban development the decision-makers in politics, planning and administration have increasingly adopted entrepreneurship support as a central means to foster economic revival in deprived localities, such as urban neighbourhoods in old industrialized regions or an urban locality with unfavourable demographic and socio-economic structures located within an overall prosperous urban agglomerations. However, practical experience shows that the efforts to economic renewal of deprived urban neighbourhoods through fostering entrepreneurship deserves a long time and faces serious obstacles (Berg et al 2004). Entrepreneurship research should critically ask, whether and how the knowledge about mixed embeddednes of entrepreneurial activities is considered by decision-makers in planning, administration and politics. Therefore, this paper aims at reviewing policy approaches which were recently adopted in different 6 German cities. Theoretically the paper draws on the literature which addresses entrepreneurship in its contexts. Empirically the paper is based on two empirical studies on public programmes at the interface of urban restructuring and economic development. We discuss the consideration of intertwined contexts of entrepreneurship as a relevant success factor of support policies. Our central focus is, whether entrepreneurship is seen as a topic related to economic life or as a matter of everyday social activities.