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Global Field Exercise, Akita 2018– “Identifying the key features of entrepreneurial/community-based initiatives – the case of Gojome Town and Kazuno City in Akita”–

Last updated March 22, 2018
Picture 1. Meeting local government (Gojome Town Hall) representative

Picture 2. Interview with raspberry farmer (Gojome)

Picture 3. Interview with local entrepreneur in Kosaka town, Kazuno region

 

Aim and Contents

 

This year, a group of 8 students from GPSS-GLI, LUCSUS (Lund University, Sweden), Akita International University (Akita City) joined Global Field Exercise unit in Akita held in Gojome Town and Kazuno City of Akita Prefecture from February 20-28. Keeping in mind that entrepreneurial/community-led initiatives can be the possible response to shrinking local economy, the participating students concentrated on the following research questions during the GFE: Why do some particular areas (in Akita) have more entrepreneurial/community-based initiatives than others? What are the key features of entrepreneurial/community-based project ecosystem(incubator)?

 

In the serene landscape of snow covered rice paddies and mountains, traditional architecture and mesmerizing cultural practices; this diverse group of Master’s and Doctoral students were trained to use qualitative research methods. In thematic groups, students reviewed literature, designed and conducted individual interviews, focused group discussions and field observations with government officials, young social entrepreneurs, community leaders, business leaders and community members (from Gojome and Kazuno). Participants also got an opportunity to: visit various cultural and traditional sites, attend a tea ceremony demonstration by local-residents, and arrange an interactive cooking session. All these activities helped participants to engage with the local-residents and understand the geography and demography of the area in more detail.

 

Long working days, intense group work, brainstorming sessions and cognitive flexibility practice led to critical analysis of collected data. Some of the major findings of this year’s GFE Akita include: (i) identification of five main factors that influence the presence of entrepreneurial/community-based initiatives in Gojome and Kazuno (i.e. Personal Motivation, Characteristics of Place, Hard and Soft Infrastructure, Interaction, and Integration); (ii) Interaction (between community members and social entrepreneurs) leading to integration is the key. As in-migrating social entrepreneurs expect amalgamation & support from the local community; (iii) Communication & dialogue (between community members and social entrepreneurs) are important and to support these, appropriate soft and hard infrastructure (i.e. networks, policies, incentives, facilities etc.) should be in place. All these findings were presented in the reporting seminar presentation, at Babame Base, to local government representatives, community members, business leaders and social entrepreneurs.

 

Time and Place

Gojome Town and Kazuno City of Akita Prefecture from February 20-28, 2018.

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