Using survey data collected in Uganda, we investigate how resource acquisition is determined by structural characteristics of entrepreneurs’ networks and relational characteristics of entrepreneurs’ relations, and how these determinants depend on the context in which entrepreneurs are embedded.

This study aims to make two original contributions to entrepreneurial network theory. First, most previous studies on entrepreneurs’ networks focus on one level of analysis – either the structural level or the relational level. In this multi-level study, we investigate simultaneously whether kinship, business ties and multiplex ties affect resource acquisition (relational level) and whether network size and network density affect resource acquisition (structural level).

Second, this study investigates how resource benefits of networks depend on entrepreneurs’ rural or urban residence. Rural settings and relations within these settings resemble the ideal type gemeinschaft: Entrepreneurs are embedded in secure unchanging groups, whereas solidarity is often based on kinship ties. In contrast, urban settings resemble the ideal type gesellschaft: Entrepreneurs are embedded in dynamically changing groups. Solidarity is more calculative; it originates from the interdependences and the complementarities between people.

In this study we argue that in static rural settings entrepreneurs will benefit more from weak ties and small heterogeneous networks, while in dynamic urban settings entrepreneurs benefit more from strong ties and small dense networks.