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ECONOMICS & SOCIOLOGY


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ISSN 2071-789X



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Entrepreneurs’ Networks at Rural Market: Developing a Creative Village in the Yamagata Prefecture, Japan

Vol. 10, No 3, 2017

 

Shiro Horiuchi,

 

Hannan University,

Matsubara, Japan,

E-mail: horiuchi.shiro@gmail.com

 

ENTREPRENEURS’ NETWORKS AT RURAL MARKET: DEVELOPING A CREATIVE VILLAGE IN THE YAMAGATA PREFECTURE, JAPAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract. Entrepreneurs of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are often expected to boost rural revitalization. However, due to the effects of globalization and regional disparities, in rural Japan entrepreneurs find few consumers and other entrepreneurs due to depopulation of many areas. This study asks how entrepreneurs build and maintain business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) networks in a rural Yamagata prefecture. The author performed a semi-structured interview with more than 20 entrepreneurs of SMEs in this area during 2014-2015, with special attention being paid to their networking with consumers and other entrepreneurs. The author found that the entrepreneurs invited outside consumers from urban areas, introduced their consumers to other entrepreneurs, used local media, and participated in rural revitalization programs to help local residents discover the value of their products. Different entrepreneurs cooperated together to improve their businesses and increase the number of regular consumers. They also tried to increase the number of cooperative entrepreneurs as they hoped for the growth of other entrepreneurial businesses and business aggregation. Consequently, such businesses contributed to rural revitalization in the sense that the residents as a whole could enjoy the local more developed market.

 

Received: January, 2017

1st Revision: March, 2017

Accepted: August, 2017

 

DOI: 10.14254/2071- 789X.2017/10-3/18

JEL Classification: L26, M30, R10

Keywords: Networks of entrepreneurs, Rural market, Depopulation, Creative Village, Rural revitalization in Japan.