Social capital, commonly understood as a system of shared norms, values and beliefs embedded within social networks is widely recognised as a facilitator of entrepreneurial activity. However, while the literature base has increased, questions remain as to how it works. Rural communities, despite well documented developmental challenges, are commonly associated with high levels of reciprocity and trust due to shared history or culture. Despite this there is a paucity of research linking social capital and rural social enterprise. Drawing upon these theoretical frameworks the study offers an understanding of how social capital works in practice through the examination of six rural social enterprises engaged in renewable energy schemes. The research adopts a qualitative approach. Focusing on the utilisation and development of networks, results indicate that social capital is both a process and an outcome of rural social enterprise.
- Rural Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Social Capital,