What are the features of resilient businesses? Exploring the perception of rural entrepreneurs

A Steiner, J Cleary

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The economic importance of the private sector, such as its contribution to GDP or employment creation, is well recognised in research and policy. More recently, positive social and environmental contributions of businesses have been explored and there is a growing body of evidence recognising the potential role of private sector enterprises in contributing to enhanced community resilience. However, the extent to which business owners and their businesses are resilient themselves is not well investigated. In the context of globalization and rapid change, businesses are exposed to external shocks and economic social and environmental changes. Private sector enterprises, which are so important in the overall community development, are therefore forced to adapt to the changing dynamics of their soundings. Based on an exploratory study of businesses in South Australia, which aimed to enhance our understanding of the role of private sector enterprises in local development, this paper explores how business owners cope with a changing business environment. We question therefore what are the features of resilient businesses? Through in–depth face–to–face interviews with rural business owners, we identify approaches of selected entrepreneurs that enabled them to adapt to changes creating resilient businesses. Findings of this paper present implications for practitioners, researchers and policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Rural and Community Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPrint publication - 2014


  • Entrepreneurs
  • Private sector businesses
  • Resilience
  • Rural
  • SMEs


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