University of Oulu

Simunaniemi, A.-M., Forsten-Astikainen, R., Hänninen, K. and Muhos, M. (2020), "A Micro-entrepreneur Network as a Community of Practice Boosting Entrepreneurial Activities", Caputo, A. and Pellegrini, M.M. (Ed.) The Entrepreneurial Behaviour: Unveiling the cognitive and emotional aspect of entrepreneurship (Entrepreneurial Behaviour Series), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 297-310.

A micro-entrepreneur network as a community of practice boosting entrepreneurial activities

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Author: Simunaniemi, Anna-Mari1; Forsten-Astikainen, Riitta1; Hänninen, Kai1;
Organizations: 1Micro-entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence, Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu Pajatie 5, 85500 Nivala, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-27


This case study describes practices in a micro-entrepreneur peer-to-peer network (MicroENTRE network), an example of a community of practice (CoP) where entrepreneurs, researchers and local public business advisory services (PBAS) seek to promote entrepreneurial behaviour through joint activities, such as sharing ideas, peer learning and business development. The concept was originally established to address the practical needs of micro-entrepreneurs and business development agencies in sparsely populated areas (SPA). Through the network, micro-entrepreneurs and PBAS are provided with direct contact to the university research team, which transfers recent research-based knowledge to the network. This chapter bridges the literature on micro-entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour in networks through an empirical description of micro-entrepreneurs’ activities in the context of a peer-to-peer network using the typical CoP activity classifications developed by Wenger as the framework. The case study is based on the longitudinal analysis of monthly meetings (from 2015 to 2019) of 13 micro-entrepreneur groups. The data consist of participatory observations during the network meetings and the audio recordings and meeting memos of the authors. The findings describe typical examples of CoP activities in the network. For example, entrepreneurs use the network to share ideas, make requests for advice based on experience of fellow entrepreneurs and reuse the assets of other network members. Moreover, the data show that regular, peer-to-peer network meetings, jointly facilitated by PBAS and researchers, are an acceptable and accessible platform for micro-enterprise development in SPA.

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ISBN: 978-1-78973-507-9
ISBN Print: 978-1-78973-508-6
Pages: 297 - 310
DOI: 10.1108/978-1-78973-507-920201020
Host publication: The entrepreneurial behaviour : unveiling the cognitive and emotional aspect of entrepreneurship
Host publication editor: Caputo, Andrea
Pellegrini, Massimiliano M.
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
520 Other social sciences
Copyright information: © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited. The final authenticated version is available online at