The role of social entrepreneurship in rural development - A comparative study between Hungary and Germany

Room C
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
17.15 – 19.00
rural development, social entrepreneurship, social innovation

Under this session I am proposing to introduce my ongoing PhD research project discovering the role of social entrepreneurship in rural development (a comparative study between Hungary and Germany).  

Although social entrepreneurship is a young discipline, it attracts an increasing scientific and policy interest. The reason for this might be, that social entrepreneurs see potential in peripheralised regions and represent a bottom-up approach for development.  

In spite of the fact that there are a high number of papers that study social entrepreneurship from business (mainly management or entrepreneurship) fields, its geographical aspects remain under-researched. The number of papers discovering the role of social entrepreneurship in rural development is even more limited.

In the reviewed social entrepreneurship and rural development literature scholars seem to understand development from different aspects. There are authors who see development in rural peripheries as economic advancement, and there are others who argue for a multi-dimensional approach (including social, cultural or environmental aspects under development too).

Lányi et al. (2013) define development as the steps towards environmental sustainability and even claim that in certain cases economic growth can not mean development at all.

Building on a multi-dimensional understandig of rural development, I have formulated the following research questions:

(1)          Are rural communities in Hungary and in Germany using social enterprises as a vehicle to create local development outcomes?

(2)          If so, what kinds of development outcomes are social enterprises aiming to create, and what kinds of assets and resources are they mobilizing to do so?

Melinda Mihály
Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
melinda.mihaly.kakucs [at]

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