Building Community through Entrepreneurship:
Lessons from the United States and Vietnam

Stephen J. Appold
Department of Sociology
National University of Singapore
11 Arts Link
Singapore 117570
John D. Kasarda
Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
Kenan-Flagler Business School
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3440

October 19, 2002
(reprinted from March 1998)

This chapter reports on a continuing research program examining the relationship between entrepreneurship and communities.  The studies included are based on original small scale survey data collection in the U.S. and Vietnam.  The seemingly diverse studies share a concern for a mismatch between the supply of labor and the supply of jobs.  Specifically, we consider the strengths and limitations of policy tools rooted in a conception of an "entrepreneurial society" to address that mismatch by generating additional employment and wealth.  Rather than highlighting the differences between the situations in each country, we focus on the commonalities and ask three related questions about the relationship between entrepreneurship and community.  First, do small neighborhood businesses benefit residential communities?  Our answer is yes, but there are limitations.  We base our answer on a survey of 110 small businesses located in a balanced sample of predominantly white and predominantly black Pittsburgh neighborhoods.  Second, Can "community" (or more exactly social capital, the resources of your friends and family) aid in the creation of small businesses?  Our answer is yes, but there are limitations.  We base our answer on a survey of 124 small manufacturing enterprises located in Hanoi, Vietnam.  Third, can formal help substitute for the absence of "community" (again, more exactly, social capital).  Our answer is yes, but there are limitations (mostly in our data).  We base our answer on in-depth structured interviews with 28 recent or nascent black and white entrepreneurs in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Forthcoming in John S. Butler and George Kozmetsky, eds., Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurship: Building American Communities.  Rutgers University Press.

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