Defining Cultural Entrepreneurship

Cultural Entrepreneurship is difficult to define. Are we taking a wide definition of ‘culture’ to include a ‘way of life’ or are we taking about the ‘arts’ or the ‘creative industries’?

Of course, there is no single definition.

In the Guardian’s Secret Entrepreneur series,  there is a debate about whether or not a definition for social enterprise is important. According to the Secret Entrepreneur:

Social enterprise is a melting pot from which anything might emerge.

In this post, I explore different contexts for cultural entrepreneurship, which are similar to ideas about social enterprise.

When we look beyond Europe and the US, we find cultural entrepreneurship to have significance in the social development of communities. For example, as Christo van der Rheede discusses in his post about Indigenous Cultural Entrepreneurship in South Africa:

Socially it builds positive self-esteem and identity within communities. Culturally it unblocks the perceptions that indigenous culture is backwards and inspires creativity and originality within communities. Educationally it contextualises learning and teaching and promotes the value of indigenous knowledge. Entrepreneurially it stimulates the establishment of micro-businesses within the cultural festivals, film, video, print and electronic media, leisure software / computer games, TV, radio and internet broadcasting, advertising, architecture, music, publishing, visual arts & crafts, heritage and tourism, folklore, medicinal plants and other related industries.

In some academic research in the UK (writers such as Angela McRobbie), we find a critique of cultural policies which encourages enterprise in the cultural sector. In the South African context described above, cultural entrepreneurship is closely linked to social, educational and entrepreneurial developments. It is perceived as an opportunity to build confidence and preserve cultures for certain communities.

Definitions are tricky. But they can be the starting point for reflection and critical thinking.

Further information: According to a paper written by Keith Nurse, titled ‘Culture as the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development’ 

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