“We moved here for the lifestyle”: A picture of entrepreneurship in rural British Columbia

In many rural communities, employment in the natural resource-based sectors is declining. In response, individuals and communities are examining the potential of entrepreneurship to support economic development. However, little is known about these entrepreneurs who operate in often constrained environments. By understanding this, place-specific programs can be developed that support and sustain them. This paper contributes to this discussion with research focused on a rural and remote British Columbia region. The survey results suggest that individuals often start businesses for lifestyle reasons and continue to operate them even when financially marginal. Further, despite perceptions that the rural environment is hostile, entrepreneurial opportunities and resources exist and support local community economic development. Communities, governments, and other support organizations can use these results to develop site- and context-specific policies and programs.

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