The essence of community enterprises

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The aim of this research is to gain insight into what a community enterprise is, and what value it has. Community centers are disappearing, and the places to meet in the neighborhood is becoming increasingly scarce. On the other hand, more and more neighborhood initiatives are emerging, at which the neighborhood stands up for its own needs and desires. A community enterprise is such an initiative that provides an encounter place and activities in a local building. However, establishing and maintaining a community enterprise presents a value challenge. It is hard to grasp the value of a community enterprise because it contains different people, activities and context. This thesis explores the characteristics and value of various community enterprises through two qualitative methods: document analysis of 15 different community enterprises and in-depth document analysis and interviews with 5 community enterprises. This research concluded that that community enterprises are a hybrid form which is flexible to dealing with different circumstances. Social value is felt by the community, but not understood by the outside world. The greatest value that a community enterprise delivers to the neighborhood is gaining social contacts, gaining a certain personal meaning and getting people in the neighborhood out of their isolation. Encounters in a community enterprise seemed to be essential. However, on the one to provide fleeting encounters a space for encounter is enough. On the other side, to provide a further purpose or more meaningful encounters directing encounters by people of the community or through activities is important. A community enterprise provides a connection between the living world and the system world. Yet, the value orientation of this society ensures that community enterprises are busy demonstrating their complex value.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen