December 13, 2023

2:00 p.m. ET

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Scholar presenter:

Jennifer Brenton, University of Michigan

Seed generators:

Helen Haugh, University of Cambridge

Oana Branzei, Western University


Leveraging Place: Increasing Community Support for Community-Based Enterprises to Create Long-Term Impact

Talk description:

Community-based enterprises (CBEs) are organizations embedded in communities that aim to address local challenges and contribute to community development. Within research on CBEs, it has been shown that these organizations need local support and resources to grow, yet we lack an adequate understanding of how CBEs emerge in contexts of low initial community support and how these organizations build community support to create long-term impact. This paper presentation explores these ideas through a case study of the Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital Heritage Corporation (BBCHHC), a CBE that launched with limited initial community support and yet contributed to local development for twenty years. This study shows how the BBCHHC was able to increase community support for their organization by leveraging their embeddedness in the community to foster a sense of place among community members for a local heritage building. As more community members developed a deeper connection and attachment to this building, they began to value the work of the BBCHHC, and local support for the organization slowly grew. This increasing community support enabled the organization to become more financially sustainable, pursue new local initiatives, and create long-term impact in the community. This case demonstrates how these organizations can foster sense of place to grow their impact and contribute to community development in contexts of low initial community support.

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