Special Issue

Rural Entrepreneurship: Encouraging Economic Resiliency

Special issue call for papers from the ​Journal of Small Business Strategy - Deadline for Extended Abstract, December 1, 2020

Guest Editor

Dennis Barber III, PhD
Miller School of Entrepreneurship East Carolina University barberde17@ecu.edu


Traditional methods of economic development have worked well to build strong, urban centers and suburban offshoots in regional areas. However, this has left many rural communities underpopulated, undereducated and in poor physical and economic health. Many economic development professionals in rural areas still rely on outdated tactics to attract manufacturing and textile firms. This waiting game leaves the residents underserved and often forces them to relocate to urban and suburban areas. These residents do this out of necessity, not because they prefer the lifestyles in these regions. There is a wealth of underutilized resources in rural communities and unexplored opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to venture out in rural areas. This special issue aims to gather new research on the benefits of entrepreneurship and the role it can play in building sustainable communities and resilient local economies in rural areas.

The challenges faced by rural entrepreneurs are different from their urban entrepreneur counterparts, but the advantages differ too (Fortunato, 2014). Rural entrepreneurs are vital for economic development due to its low cost and high potential for creating jobs (Fortunato, 2014). Rural entrepreneurs leverage local resources and are less likely to relocate (Korsgaard, 2015) making them valuable for entrepreneurial ecosystems. The resources used by rural entrepreneurs are distinct from other types of entrepreneurs (Müller & Korsgaard, 2017). Even though rural entrepreneurs are distinct, this group of founders is hard to specifically define. Just because a firm is located in a rural setting, does not mean that it represents “rural entrepreneurship” and this boundary has been yet to be well empirically tested (Lúcia & Teixeira, 2018).

We are interested in topics such as:

  • Theoretical explorations of the role of rural entrepreneurs in local and regional communities.
  • The effectiveness and design of practical education and support programs for rural entrepreneurs.
  • Extension opportunities related to the relationship between student entrepreneurs and rural development efforts.
  • Theoretical underpinnings of the rural entrepreneur mindset, as well as similarities and differences between rural entrepreneurs’ and high-growth entrepreneurial mindsets.
  • Practical and empirical investigations of innovative approaches to economic development through the use of rural entrepreneurship.
  • Empirical investigations of rural entrepreneurial networks and ecosystems and the nuances specific to these when compared to their urban and suburban counterparts.
  • Exploration of theoretical and practical applications and implications of using rural entrepreneurship as a means for regional transformation.
  • Empirical and theoretical investigations of the existing resources and the resource gaps for entrepreneurs in rural communities.
  • Other theoretical and empirical works exploring the connection or impact of entrepreneurship and rural development, broadly defined.

Each paper is desk reviewed by the guest-editor and, if judged suitable for this special issue, will be reviewed by two independent referees for double blind peer review. All papers will be subject to the journal’s customary reviewing procedure to ensure a high quality of the contributions.

Process Schedule

  • October 1, 2020: Submission opens for 3-5 page extended abstracts
  • December 1, 2020: Deadline for 3-5 page extended abstract
  • December 15, 2020: Notification of invitation to Small Business Institute® annual meeting to discuss your paper with JSBS editors
  • February 25, 2021: Mini-presentation and meeting with the JSBS Editors at the Small Business Institute® Conference
  • April 15, 2021: Full paper drafts due (hard deadline)

Submissions will be reviewed following the timeline above.

Contacts and Notes

Papers should be original, unpublished, and not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Before submitting manuscripts, authors are advised to ensure that they have conformed to the requirements detailed in the instructions to authors that can be found on the journal’s homepage. Manuscripts which are incorrectly formatted or do not contain all the required elements may be returned to authors for correction prior to review. Prospective

contributors are invited to informally discuss their proposed paper with the guest editor prior to submission. Other inquiries should be sent directly to Dr. Dennis Barber III (​barberde17@ecu.edu​) with the subject “JSBS Rural Entrepreneurship Special Issue.”

Guest Editor’s Bio

Dr. Dennis Barber III​ is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Miller School of Entrepreneurship at East Carolina University. His research interests include rural entrepreneurship, public policy, economic development, entrepreneurship education, and university extension efforts. His work has been published in the ​Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship,​ ​Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship​, ​Journal of Small Business Strategy a​ nd ​Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies.​ Dr. Barber is also the Chair of the Rural Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group with USASBE and the VP-Programs Elect with the Small Business Institute®.


Fortunato, Michael William-Patrick. “Supporting Rural Entrepreneurship: a Review of Conceptual Developments from Research to Practice.” ​Community Development​, vol. 45, no. 4, 2014, pp. 387–408.

Korsgaard, Steffen, et al. “Rural Entrepreneurship or Entrepreneurship in the Rural – between Place and Space.”​ International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research​, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 5–26.

Müller, Sabine, and Steffen Korsgaard. “Resources and Bridging: the Role of Spatial Context in Rural Entrepreneurship.” ​Entrepreneurship & Regional Development​, vol. 30, no. 1-2, 2017, pp. 224–255.

Pato, Lúcia, and Aurora Amélia Castro Teixeira. “Rural Entrepreneurship: the Tale of a Rare Event.” ​Journal of Place Management and Development​, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 46–59.