Recent years have seen a growing global trend of cultural business start-ups. A cultural business (events, arts, music, theatre, etc.) is significantly different from a commercial business for more than one reason. Cultural businesses are usually run by a limited number of people. They still have their founding members actively involved in the day to day dealings of the business. Additionally, the success measures for these businesses rely heavily on social networking and strong interpersonal connections, in addition to fiscal outcomes. Constructing sturdy social ties lies at the very heart of a successful cultural venture. Maintaining healthy relations with competitors and building on personal networks directly helps a cultural business gather information and resources for mutual benefit.
However, due to the limited market of this business sector, there is an absence of information as to how much networking actually helps the cultural business, and information on the extent to which a cultural entrepreneur’s reputation affects the business. The current paper (Konrad, 2013) explored this area, and reveals some interesting and constructive information.
RESEARCH FINDINGS ON CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
It appears that the more favorable a business’s reputation, the more likely it is to succeed and grow. A start-up’s reputation hinges on that of its entrepreneur. The current research therefore suggests that the more actively (socially) involved a cultural entrepreneur is, the better the chances are for the business to succeed. A cultural entrepreneur is expected to build strong social relations with competitors, as well as building a sturdy personal social network, in order to be in the loop on important shifts and developments in the cultural business landscape.
Two major obstacles affect cultural business: funding sources and competition with other similar businesses. In the face of limited funding, private cultural businesses find it difficult to compete with public institutions that receive more government funding. A strong networking specialist can greatly help to mitigate the disadvantages a for-profit culture enterprise might face.
However, it appears that while a healthy network can help overcome the constraints posed due to limited funding, the benefit is not the same when the level of competitiveness increases. Since cultural entrepreneurs spend a tremendous amount of energy and time networking with peers who are also potentially competitors, there seems to exist a general supportive mindset among the cultural community. Unfortunately, when the level of competitiveness increases, perhaps due to a dearth of available funding, it poses a problem that cannot be resolved through social networking alone. In fact, social networking may negatively affect the business at times of increased competitiveness, since social networking involves a mutual benefit factor.
With the limited research available on cultural entrepreneurship, the current study has contributed in a large way by pointing out the importance of social networking, as well as its limitations. Cultural entrepreneurs should focus on building social networks as part of their business strategy. This can assist in overcoming some of the common issues faced by cultural start-ups. However, they should remain conscious that in times of increased competition, they may need to explore alternatives to these social networks.
Konrad, E. D. (2013). Cultural Entrepreneurship: The Impact of Social Networking on Success. Creativity and Innovation Management, 22(3), 307-319.