Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Education, mobility and rural business development

By Gary Bosworth


Purpose – In a period of rural economic change, knowledge and skills transfers and the generation of new economic opportunities are seen as essential for promoting rural development. The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence of the impact of educated in-migrants establishing new business activity in rural areas.\ud Design/methodology/approach – The research employs qualitative interviews with rural business owners informed by an earlier postal survey of rural microbusinesses in the North East of England. The interview data are used to explore the implications of owners’ past education and work\ud experience for the development of their businesses. The attitudes and networking behaviour of business owners are also explored in order to assess the extent to which social capital facilitates the exchange of valuable knowledge and opportunities between rural businesses.\ud Findings – Data indicate that rural in-migrants, defined as having moved at least 30 miles as adults, arrive with significantly higher education qualifications than their local business-owning counterparts. It also indicates that those with higher levels of education are most likely to engage with networking groups and business advice providers. This leads to the conclusion that as well as\ud bringing higher levels of human capital, the integration of in-migrants into local economies is indirectly increasing the potential levels of human and social capital across the rural economy.\ud Originality/value – The research highlights important data concerning the levels of education among in-migrants and local business owners. It continues by developing theoretical explanations about the way that a business owner’s background can influence their business activity. This raises awareness of the diversity of skills and networks among rural business owners that are enhancing the stocks of human and social capital in the rural economy

Topics: L721 Economic Geography, N100 Business studies
Publisher: Emerald
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1108/14626000911000983
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2003). A General Theory of Entrepreneurship; The Individual-Opportunity Nexus, Edward Elgar Publishing, doi
  2. (2003). A Guide to Rural Business; Opportunities and Ideas for Developing your Country Enterprise,
  3. (2005). Annual Survey of Small Businesses: UK – 2005”, available at: (accessed on
  4. (2004). Business Incubator Opens to Drive Rural Economy Forward”, available at: -incubator-opens-to-dr.aspxU (accessed on
  5. (1994). Childerley: Nature and Morality in a Country Village, doi
  6. (2007). Commission for Rural Communities
  7. (2006). Counterurbanisation and Job Creation: Entrepreneurial In-Migration and Rural Economic Development,” Discussion Paper Number 4, Centre for Rural
  8. (1989). Counterurbanisation: The Changing Pace and Nature of Population Deconcentration, doi
  9. (2001). Culture Economies, Centre for Rural
  10. (1996). Drop your tools: an allegory for organizational studies”, doi
  11. (2006). Employment and the Older Person in the
  12. (2008). Entrepreneurial In-Migrants and Economic Development in Rural England, Unpublished PhD Thesis, doi
  13. Entrepreneurial In-Migrants and Economic Development in Rural England”, doi
  14. (2005). Entrepreneurship and network externalities”, doi
  15. (2001). Entrepreneurship: Globalization, Innovation and Development, doi
  16. (2005). Flexibility, Firm-Specific Turbulence and the Performance of the Long-lived Small Firm”, doi
  17. (1993). Founding a new Business in the
  18. (2005). From countrysides of production to countrysides of consumption?”, doi
  19. (1992). House-price differentials, housing wealth
  20. (2008). In-migration and Economic Activity in Rural Areas of Wales”,
  21. (2000). Networking, entrepreneurship and microbusiness behaviour”, doi
  22. (2000). Networks and local environmental characteristics in the survival of new firms”,
  23. (1998). Our Competitive Future: Building the Knowledge Driven Economy: Analysis and Background, Department of Trade and Industry,
  24. (2008). Producing Postman Pat: The popular cultural construction of idyllic rurality”, doi
  25. (2008). Recent developments in the economics of entrepreneurship”, doi
  26. (2000). Rural microbusinesses in North East England: Final Survey Results, Centre for Rural
  27. (2004). Rural out-migration: community consequences and individual migrant experiences”, doi
  28. (2006). Skills Associated with Employment Positions in SMEs and Favourable Attitudes Toward Self-Employment: Longitudinal Evidence from doi
  29. (2001). Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action, doi
  30. (2007). The ‘green green grass of home’? Return migration to rural Ireland”, doi
  31. (2003). The Differentiated Countryside, doi
  32. (2002). The effects of embeddedness on the entrepreneurial process”, doi
  33. (1994). The Entrepreneur in Theory and Practice”, doi
  34. (2003). The Rural Labour Market, A Welsh Example”, available at: (accessed on 7
  35. (2008). The State of the Countryside
  36. (1994). Understanding the Small Business Sector,
  37. (2005). Universities, the Knowledge Economy and ‘Neo-endogenous Rural Development”, Centre for Rural

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.