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Enterprise hubs as a mechanism for local economic development in rural areas

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ian Merrell, Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Professor Matthew GortonORCiD, Dr Paul CowieORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Until recently, rural areas have been largely disregarded in innovation policies, due to the lack of physicalproximity between businesses required to create agglomeration benefits. Rural enterprise hubs – defined asphysical infrastructure that provides workspaces to multiple tenant businesses, with additional services such asshared equipment, meeting rooms, co-working spaces, and business advice or support - are one means ofincreasing not only physical, but a wide range of non-spatial proximities between rural businesses. Drawing onand extending proximity theory, and based on qualitative case study research, this paper provides the first in-depth analysis of how co-location of businesses within Rural Enterprise Hubs can generate benefits for tenantsand overcome a lack of proximity to networks and support systems. It identifies the salience of these benefits fordifferent types of businesses and the extent to which hubs help to overcome common constraints faced by ruralbusinesses.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Merrell I, Phillipson J, Gorton M, Cowie P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Rural Studies

Year: 2022

Volume: 93

Pages: 81-91

Print publication date: 01/07/2022

Online publication date: 27/05/2022

Acceptance date: 18/05/2022

Date deposited: 30/05/2022

ISSN (print): 0743-0167

ISSN (electronic): 1873-1392

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.05.016


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Funder referenceFunder name
ES/J500082/1 1506282