Entrepreneurial origin and the configuration of innovation in rural areas: The case of Cumbria, North West England

Christos Kalantaridis, Zografia Bika

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39 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the incidence of innovation and the configuration of innovation systems in rural areas, which are viewed as possessing weak knowledge-generating subsystems. Drawing on the results of a microlevel study in rural Cumbria, North West England, the paper shows that entrepreneurs were able to access nonlocal knowledge infrastructure. Thus, the emergent actor-constructed regional innovation system stretched well beyond the confines of Cumbria. This configuration can be explained, in large part, by considering entrepreneurial origin. New arrivals (especially immigrants) demonstrated the greatest propensity to innovate, using innovation systems which cut across the regional and national boundaries. Locally born and returnee entrepreneurs demonstrated a low incidence of innovation. The paper concludes that a distinction between regional innovation systems (as macrolevel analytical units with a normative dimension) and actor-constructed regional innovation systems (as microlevel descriptive units) offers scope for the advancement of research in this field of study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-884
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • entrepreneur
  • innovation
  • knowledge
  • rural area
  • Cumbria
  • England
  • United Kingdom

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