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Plats och entreprenörskap: fallet Åre
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2011 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis examines why Åre, the premium skiresort of Sweden, is so successful inproducing new small and medium sized firms. Since the 1980s, Åre has been among the highestranked Swedish municipalities when it comes to new firm formation, and their survial rateis better than in the rest of the country. Åre is situated in the interior north of Sweden, and isthe only comparable municipality in that part of the country that has increased its popultion inrecent years. Other similar municipalities are facing a heavy decline in population. Åre has along history in the tourist industry and most newly started firms are connected to this industry.Some 450 000 visitors come annually, mainly in the wintertime, to experience Åre, which hasthereby developed into a local market with demand on a broad range of products and services.The aim with the licentiate thesis is to analyse what is causing the entrepreneurial processthat is taking place in Åre. The theoretical point of departure is found in theories of contemporaryeconomic geography with concepts like social capital, cluster and ”creative class” formingthe framework for the analysis. Path-dependence theory is also in focus when it comes tounderstanding the importance of local history and its footprint of today.The main data used in the thesis come from 34 semi-structured interviews with companyowners/managers representing private firms in Åre. Only individuals that have started theirbusiness or taken over the firm from a family member have been of interest in the study. Thepurpose is to get close to the persons behind the business and reveal why they became entrepreneursin the local context. The mainly qualitative analysis of the interview material is supplementedby a statistical analysis where a) Åre is compared with other similar municipalitiesin Sweden concerning for example the development of new business or unemployment rates.And b) where all individuals who have lived in Åre during the period of 1990-2008 are analyzedusing different variables concerning socio-economic background and occupation.The thesis shows the importance of the attraction to the local environment where newfirms are formed as a result of a strong local market and an positive entrepreneurial atmospherethat exists in Åre. Entrepreneurs in Åre have a diverse background, but with the passionfor skiing or outdoor activities as common denominators. Another important factor is thegathering of local actors in the destination around a future oriented vision that unites them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Kulturgeografiska institutionen , 2011. , 108 p.
Series
, Forskarskolan i Geografi
Keyword [en]
Local business development, economic geography, social capital, cluster, creative class, place attractiveness, entrepreneurship
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-149965ISBN: 978-91-506-2188-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-149965DiVA: diva2:406088
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-03-24 Created: 2011-03-24 Last updated: 2011-03-24Bibliographically approved

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Skålén, Mikael
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Department of Social and Economic Geography
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