Seeking Inclusion through Local Entrepreneurship Training Initiatives in Low-Income Communities




entrepreneurship training, community resources, university-community partnerships


Understanding the role of local resources in enabling or constraining the development of entrepreneurial activities in urban communities holds important implications for community placed-based initiatives led by urban universities. This article analyzes the societal and interpersonal factors that affect the outcomes of an entrepreneurship center created in 2016, in partnership with an urban university within a low-income community adjacent to campus. The center was created to address the needs of local residents wanting to launch new businesses, as well as supporting small business owners in the neighborhood who desire to grow their businesses and capitalize on the neighborhood’s proximity to large city anchors. The study uses a mixed research design to understand, through the voice of residents and local business owners, the potential of the center as a catalyst for local entrepreneurship and inclusion, and proposes ways in which community resources can be used to bolster entrepreneurial success. Results reveal the need to strengthen local entrepreneurs’ social capital and social competences in order to promote access to financial and business resources. Local businesses must be used as significant assets to build upon in order to strengthen entrepreneurial capacities and cultivate community attitudes towards entrepreneurship.

Author Biographies

Silvia C Garcia, Indiana University

Assistant Director for Research

Office of Community Engagement


Nina Ustymchuk, Indiana University

JD/MPH Dual Degree Student

IU McKinney School of Law 



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