The unique Regional Studies Association Research Network on Citizen Entrepreneurship (RSARNCE) will carry out critical and systematic research and development activities on the involvement of citizens, as, producers, users, innovators and environmental gatekeepers of new forms of entrepreneurial activity in urban regions.. The network’s distinctive proposition centres around an extended definition of regional entrepreneurship, based on the collaboration of citizens with entrepreneurs, policy makers, and urban activists to create sustainable capacities for entrepreneurial governance of regional and local resources, as part of the urban commons. Building on antecedents provided by Citizen Economics and Citizen Science, the network introduces a novel dimension to the idea and practice of regional innovative entrepreneurship through the engagement of citizens. The network will build on an inaugural presentation of the key concepts and early framework of the project at the EU Regions Week in Brussels in October, 2019.
Aims and Objectives of the RSARNCE Network
The aim of RSARNCE is to develop an enhanced and critical research and development capability for investigating the pro-active involvement of citizens in different forms of business, social and public new venture creation and development. To this end the main objectives are to:
- Study the phenomena of CE, exploring how and why citizens are engaged as producers, consumers, users, innovators and environmental gatekeepers, individually and collectively, to foster sustainable development in the urban commons;
- Exchange effectively the results of studies already done in various parts of the world;
- Develop a robust conceptual framework and an evaluative space for CE;
- Elaborate a set of relevant methodologies for conducting various studies, comparing and contrasting, and where appropriate, reconciling the territorial, institutional and cognitive diversity in the cases studies;
- Organise regional R&D, engagement and dissemination events to develop and promote the capabilities of researchers; and 6) Work towards developing regional CE plans in conjunction with regional institutions, entrepreneurs and government for alternative forms of sustainable economic and social development in local communities.
The network’s programme of ideas is influenced by the ideas of Elinor Ostrom’s (2014) ‘Commons’ and, by extension, the ‘Concept of “Commoning” and ‘Sharing Cities’ in the context of the urban commons, Amartya Sen’s (1993;2008) capabilities approach linked to a Schumpeterian approach to organisational innovation and entrepreneurship for economic development (Schumpeter,1927;1930;1931). The underpinning literature provides for the prospect of defining entrepreneurship and innovation as the process of creating social goods, the development of which is enabled by the contribution, collaboration and co-creation efforts of citizens. Citizen involvement in this process engenders the achievement of their capabilities as a skilled, knowledgeable and empowered urban collective engaged in entrepreneurial governance of economic and social activities.
The organizers will select cases from Germany, Poland, Denmark and the UK to show a comprehensive, multifaceted picture of CE in the EU and demonstrate how multiple ways of CE engagement can contribute to achieving social and economic cohesion and integration. All four countries have well-established citizen engagement initiatives that address critical issues of economic and social sustainability, such as improved ways of living (Hanover, Germany), greening economic, social and personal spaces (Sonderborg, Denmark), neighbourhood improvement (Lodz, Poland) and crime reduction (Glasgow, Scotland). We see the possibility of some synergistic overlaps with existing (2019-2022) EU Cohesion Policy #CPnet and (2017-2020) Polycentric Urban Regions (PURs), as well as the Co-Cities and Mapping the Commines projects. Our distinctive contribution centres on citizen engagement with multiple forms of regional entrepreneurship.
Proposed Plan of Events and Activities with Indicative Dates
We have planned for seven events- four developmental events, two special sessions at RSA conferences and one final dissemination event.
- Event 1 – Research workshop on CE theoretical framework: “Developing the idea of Citizen Entrepreneurship” – June 2020
- Event 2 – Research methods workshop: “Citizen Entrepreneurship in European countries” – January 2021
- Event 3 – Policy workshop: “Towards involvement, inclusion and integration of citizens in entrepreneurial Europe” – October 2021
- Event 4 – Paper presentation: “Lessons from Citizen Entrepreneurship” – November 2022
- Event 5 – International Conference as part of the International Entrepreneurship Forum – December/January, 2023
The Themes of the Proposed Events?
The main themes of the proposed events are:
- Developing the idea of Citizen Entrepreneurship: Commons, Collective Action Efficacy, and Capabilities for sustainable Entrepreneurship at the regional level (addressing theoretical and conceptual framework issues);
- Case Study Presentation and Development: From Theory to Practice and Re-exploration (plural case methodology development, citizen inclusion in research projects and identification of measurement indicators);
- Working towards involvement, inclusion and integration of citizens in entrepreneurial Europe” (collective action on developing a range of policy dimensions about citizen engagement and governance); and
- Dissemination: Paper presentation: “Lessons from Citizen Entrepreneurship”
Underpinning Research Questions
The project is exploring five research questions:
- Research Question 1 (RQ1): What determines the pro-active involvement of citizens in productive and entrepreneurial social and economic projects that offer new ways of using technology, and harnessing a common pool of resources?
- Research Question2 (RQ 2): How can citizens’ entrepreneurial aspirations as users, producers and consumers be effectively harnessed in collective action at local and regional environments?
- Research Question 3 (RQ 3): What policies tools and instruments are necessary to develop a Citizens’ Entrepreneurial Plan for the design, creation, development, implementation and governance of sustainable entrepreneurial initiatives at the regional and local level?
- Research Question 4 (RQ4): Why is it necessary to develop a replicable and polycentric research network project especially across disparate regions?
- Research Question 5 (RQ5): Which factors determine the specificity of CE in various territorial contexts and which mechanism of collective action are universal or plural?
Anticipated Influence and Value of Outcomes of the RSARNCE project
RSARNCE will seek to a) influence policy debate and practice by investigating various good practice initiatives and case studies on CE across Europe; and b) prove how effective policy could be developed to leverage multiple forms of citizen engagement in the entrepreneurship process. We expect our proposal to enrich, inform and enhance academic policy and practice in a number of distinctive ways.
Scale and scope of research
First, there is likely to major differences in the scale and scope of research, the kind of lay citizens involved, the development of strategies for retaining volunteers, assuring data quality because of disparate sources of data, and in future, sources of project funding. Mobilising a varied community of participating citizen entrepreneurs to address social, economic, environmental, business and community problems provides for new opportunities.
Extending meaning and application of key concepts
Second, the critical characteristic of CE is that as a set of activities it is potentially available to all. The broadening of the participant pool is not a function of the increase in the prevalence rate of business entrepreneurs. It has two distinctive lines of development: a) To extend the scope of entrepreneurship to cover a wide range of social and economic projects that need opportunity identification, mobilisation of resources, capabilities development, implementation and governance; and b) For citizens to engage in entrepreneurial activities not only as entrepreneurs but a catalysts, resource people, gatekeepers, non-executive, community based governance managers.
Generating New Methods and Quality Assurance
Third, by taking advantage of crowd-based, digital information resources the CE project will have access to new methods of keeping a diverse community engaged and ensuring their involvement meets scientific standards of quality, including consistency, rigour, error-checking and validation.
Fourth, the CE project could help reduce the cost of doing large scale research projects involving citizen volunteers by aiming to connect providers and users’ computers and other resources.
Finally, the critical involvement of citizens increases the potential value that is generated for them by research projects, thus enhancing the impact of the project at all stages of its development. At a time of public resource constraints, the diversification of sources of resources makes it more attractive to government and other agencies.
The Project Team Members
- Professor Jay Mitra: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Professor Ursula Weisenfeld: email@example.com
- Dr Mariusz Sokolowicz: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr Agnieszka Kurczewska: email@example.com/
Citizen’s Entrepreneurship: Research/Data Analytics to Support Entrepreneurship Research, Policy and Practice
6 April 2023
This event was a signature panel session on Citizen Entrepreneurship (CE) as part of a conference on “Entrepreneurship as a Social Movement” held in Rajasthan, India on 5-7 April 2023.
The entire conference was based on Citizen Entreprenurship principles. We partnered with our Indian project partner, Banglanatak dot com to use the conference as a base for opening an Indian chapter of our research network, and they involved a range of public and private institutions to become key stakeholders in the local network. These include some of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management, local and national government agencies, and grassroots organisations . The conference also showcased new work in India and provided a platform for continuity of our work on the project.
Please click here for the Conference Booklet.
Hybrid Seminar, 25th October 2022 – read more here – https://www.regionalstudies.org/events/rsa-research-network-rsarnce-seminar/
“Lessons from Citizen Entrepreneurship”
3rd Worksop of the Regional Studies Association Research Network on Citizen Entrepreneurship (RSARNCE)
Date: 25th of October 2022
Place: Lodz, Poland, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, see physical location
Present a research progress in exploring citizen entrepreneurship (CE) within RSA project
- Present and discuss cases of CE in different countries
- Discuss the role of digital technology in CE development
- Indicate main implications for policy making
- Development of CE Research and Project Practitioners’ Network
Programme for Workshop 25 October 2022 (local time zone – UTC+2 – Central European Summer Time)
Outline Workshop Programme (local time zone – UTC+2 – Central European Summer Time)
09.00 – 09.15 Welcome and Introductions CE project Team and Sally Hardy, CEO Regional Studies Association)
09.15 – 09.30 Citizen entrepreneurship. Lessons from theory (led by Jay Mitra, University of Essex, UK)
09.30 – 10.30 Citizen Entrepreneurship. Lessons from research (led by Ursula Weisenfeld, Luneburg University, Germany)
- The urban development landscape and citizen entrepreneurship in Germany – Leonie Eising, Luneburg University, Germany
- Diverse experiences of citizen entrepreneurship in India – Sneha Bhattacharyya, Banglanatakdotcom, West Bengal, India and Jay Mitra
- The process of emerging citizen entrepreneurship. Cases from Poland – Mariusz Sokołowicz and Agnieszka Kurczewska, University of Lodz, Poland
10.30 – 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 – 12.00 Lessons from practice: digital cooperatives as a form of citizen entrepreneurship – panel discussion with guests from the platform cooperativism in Poland CoopTech (led by Mariusz Sokołowicz)
12.00 – 12.20 Citizen Entrepreneurship. Lessons for policy (led by Jay Mitra with Giles Tofield, CEO, Cultural Engine, CIC, UK)
12.20– 12.30 Summary and Close of Workshop
Project Team Contacts
Professor Jay Mitra (University of Essex, UK): firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Ursula Weisenfeld: (University of Leuphana, Germany) email@example.com
Dr Mariusz E. Sokolowicz, associate professor: (University of Lodz, Poland) firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Agnieszka Kurczewska, associate professor (University of Lodz, Poland) email@example.com
You can watch a recording of the workshop here.
Engaging Citizens in Research: Design, Methods and Data, 26 May 2021 – you can watch a recording of the workshop here:
Regional Studies Association Research Network on Citizen Entrepreneurship (RSARNCE) Online Workshop, Jun 26, 2020 – you can watch a recording of the workshop here: