Abstract

Entrepreneurs rely on social relationships to gather the resources they need to build new organizations. Generally speaking, the richer the social life of a community, the more likely it is to facilitate entrepreneurs’ access to obtaining the resources they need to build new organizations (Stinchcombe, 1965). This study focuses on how voluntary associations, which contribute to creating a rich social life by bringing residents together outside their work and family domains, contribute to entrepreneurship at the community level.

By bringing together potential entrepreneurs in environments that foster trust, shared norms and the exchange of ideas, voluntary associations facilitate access to resources that lead to the creation of new firms. This study hypothesizes that the contribution of voluntary associations on the creation of new businesses differs based on two dimensions: the association’s level of sociodemographic diversity and the rate of participation by members in association activities. Generally, more diverse associations and associations with higher rates of active participation are expected to spur entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurs with greater access to key resources.

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