This project focuses on the relative impact of local context versus individual characteristics on entrepreneurial ambitions. A particular focus is on social and human capital, on diversity and on connectivity.

We will explore how diversity enhances ambition to, create and realise market opportunities. We interpret diversity widely, in relation to the structure of the local economy and the characteristics of the local population, which implies diversity of knowledge and of preferences, and therefore markets.

We will also explore the extent to which connectivity may enable entrepreneurs to overcome any limitations inherent in the local environment. Connectivity relates to an individual’s external social links, for example those brought in by migrant entrepreneurs, to infrastructure (transport, high speed internet access), and to location through proximity to major markets and urban centres.

By interrogating existing datasets such as those derived from the UK Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and the Panel Survey of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED), this project allows us to unpack a key issue within entrepreneurship; whether entrepreneurial behaviour is shaped more by the skills and attitudes of the individual entrepreneur or by local absorptive capacity and prevailing local social norms.