Technical Report

Rural Ethnic Entrepreneurship: A Spatial Networks Approach to Community Development

Rural ethnic entrepreneurship is a major driving force for strong rural communities (Fairlie 2004; Grey and Collins-Williams 2006; Quadrini 1999; Robles and Cordero-Guzman 2007; Rochin, Saenz, Hampton and Calo 1998; Verdaguer and Vallas 2008; Zarrugh 2007). In this project, we used a mixed methods approach to better understand rural entrepreneurship and to examine experiences and social network structures associated with ethnic entrepreneurs. This report identifies factors leading to successful ethnic-owned businesses and contributes to an understanding of the social networks and local resources using a sociospatial, community-focused approach. The term sociospatial means the active consideration of space, place and social indicators in a holistic fashion (Steinberg and Steinberg 2009). We explore issues important to ethnic business owners, how they work to achieve success in rural environments, and strengths they bring to the larger community. The result is a model for effective engagement in community and economic development for non-majority and ethnic groups who may not be at the table.