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Rural entrepreneurship is an emergent field of study, with these start-ups becoming one of the most noticeable ways to promote rural development, but the few studies concerning innovation among artisans have thus far only been exploratory. The purpose of this paper is to examine the entrepreneurial artisan initiatives of young innovators in a peripheral northern area of Portugal where black pottery is produced.Design/methodology/approachQualitative data analysis was carried out on in-depth semi-structured interviews with three young artisan innovators and entrepreneurs and one individual who functions as a cultural booster. The content analysis was done using QSR International’s NVivo Version 11 software.FindingsThese young entrepreneurs have developed commercial activities and introduced innovations (i.e. design and process) into black pottery production, while taking advantage of endogenous materials, local culture and traditional knowledge. These individuals have sought not only to generate their own innovations but also to keep their culture and local traditions alive, thereby contributing to rural development by establishing networks with local young artisans.Research limitations/implicationsSome limitations are linked to the sample’s size and basis in a specific geographic reality.Practical implicationsThe findings provide a fuller understanding of why some rural artisan firms grow, suggesting that artisans’ networks and innovative and entrepreneurial behaviours play a key role.Originality/valueThis research’s results contribute to the literature on the role that innovation can play as a booster of rural artisanship through networks and entrepreneurship. This paper is among the first to discuss black pottery as a form of artisan entrepreneurship. The results underline the value of innovations and networks, which were found to be the core ingredients in rural artisan entrepreneurship.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 17, 2019
Keywords: Entrepreneurs; Innovation; Networking; Small firm/new venture strategy
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