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      Unlocking the potential of rural social enterprise

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          Abstract

          In this paper, we argue that social enterprise could represent a means of tackling rural challenges of providing sustainable economic development, addressing the withdrawal of public services and promoting community cohesion. The paper draws upon a review of existing academic as well as policy literature and develops a conceptual framework that helps to understand how to unlock the potential contribution of social enterprises to rural development. Drawing on an exploratory study conducted in two rural areas of Scotland we use interview data from social enterprise stakeholders to populate the conceptual framework and its rural (geographic), policy and social enterprise domains. Our study suggests that social enterprises can potentially enable an integrated approach to addressing local issues at the local level. They can create locally responsive services that fit the rural context. However, unlocking the potential of rural social enterprise may require moving beyond traditional policy silo approaches that treat economic development, community cohesion and public services as separate and disconnected since national policy-making frameworks have not always translated into practice at the rural level. Additionally, policy treatment of social enterprise needs to move beyond efforts to ‘scale up’ and achieve economies of scale. Collaborations between groups of social enterprises, and between social enterprises and public authorities can lead to economies of scope, particularly where strong trust-based relations within communities harness self-help and the co-production of services. With appropriate guidance and support, many rural challenges and needs could be transformed into opportunities for social enterprise development. In highlighting the opportunities and challenges faced by rural social enterprises, the paper suggests potential research gaps that, if filled, could contribute towards recognising and unlocking their full potential.

          Highlights

          • Rural social enterprise conceptual framework combines rural, policy and social enterprise domains.

          • Social enterprises recognise the interconnectedness between different rural needs and potential solutions.

          • Rural challenges could be transformed into opportunities for social enterprise and community development.

          • National social enterprise policies are not well-translated into practice at the rural level.

          • Future success or rural social enterprises depends on breaking down traditional policy silo.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Understanding the barriers to setting up a healthcare quality improvement process in resource-limited settings: a situational analysis at the Medical Department of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi

          Background Knowledge regarding the best approaches to improving the quality of healthcare and their implementation is lacking in many resource-limited settings. The Medical Department of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi set out to improve the quality of care provided to its patients and establish itself as a recognized centre in teaching, operations research and supervision of district hospitals. Efforts in the past to achieve these objectives were short-lived, and largely unsuccessful. Against this background, a situational analysis was performed to aid the Medical Department to define and prioritize its quality improvement activities. Methods A mix of quantitative and qualitative methods was applied using checklists for observed practice, review of registers, key informant interviews and structured patient interviews. The mixed methods comprised triangulation by including the perspectives of the clients, healthcare providers from within and outside the department, and the field researcher’s perspectives by means of document review and participatory observation. Results Human resource shortages, staff attitudes and shortage of equipment were identified as major constraints to patient care, and the running of the Medical Department. Processes, including documentation in registers and files and communication within and across cadres of staff were also found to be insufficient and thus undermining the effort of staff and management in establishing a sustained high quality culture. Depending on their past experience and knowledge, the stakeholder interviewees revealed different perspectives and expectations of quality healthcare and the intended quality improvement process. Conclusions Establishing a quality improvement process in resource-limited settings is an enormous task, considering the host of challenges that these facilities face. The steps towards changing the status quo for improved quality care require critical self-assessment, the willingness to change as well as determined commitment and contributions from clients, staff and management.
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            The effects of embeddedness on the entrepreneurial process

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              Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship: Towards a Convergent Theory of the Entrepreneurial Process

               E Chell (2007)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Rural Stud
                J Rural Stud
                Journal of Rural Studies
                Pergamon
                0743-0167
                1 August 2019
                August 2019
                : 70
                : 144-154
                Affiliations
                Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. artur.steiner@ 123456gcu.ac.uk
                Article
                S0743-0167(17)30506-5
                10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.12.021
                6876678
                © 2019 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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