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    Public spaces, equality, diversity and inclusion: connecting disabled entrepreneurs to urban spaces

    Lawton Smith, Helen (2023) Public spaces, equality, diversity and inclusion: connecting disabled entrepreneurs to urban spaces. Land 12 (4), p. 873. ISSN 2073-445X.

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    In the UK and in many other countries, the lack of support for disabled entrepreneurs is an economic, cultural, and societal issue. This is because while disabled entrepreneurs belong to and contribute to public spaces, there are often barriers to their full engagement in the local economy. Where interaction is well established, such entrepreneurs add to the cultural richness of places, to personal and societal well-being and economically by wealth creation. The goal of the study is to identify what can be done to overcome the marginalisation of disabled entrepreneurs, which leads to increased local equality of opportunity, thereby adding to the diversity of local economies and, thus, to a more inclusive society. However, as the evidence from this study of the geography of specialised networks which support disabled entrepreneurs in the UK shows, the entrepreneurial capacity of public spaces (inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems) for disabled entrepreneurs is better in some places and entirely absent in others. It is this local dimension that has been missing in other studies of disabled entrepreneurs. By focusing on the formal networks that have been established to support disabled entrepreneurs rather than the entrepreneurs themselves, the particular knowledge gap that this paper addresses is the importance of the networks in making those connections and bringing about systemic change in urban spaces. They do this in three ways. They provide access to resources that disabled entrepreneurs need to start and grow a business; in turn, they need to engage with other local public and private sector organisations in order to sustain their own activities, and by their role as advocates on behalf of their members through their leadership, they increase the visibility of disabled entrepreneurs within urban spaces. The contribution to academic literature is to explore the interconnection between the agency of particular organisations to improve inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and overcome embedded exclusion within urban spaces. Examples from the UK and from the USA provide empirical insights into what can be done.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): equality, diversity and inclusion, disabled entrepreneurs, urban spaces, social spaces, public spaces, inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, advocacy
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Innovation Management Research, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Helen Lawton Smith
    Date Deposited: 03 May 2023 12:21
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:21


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