Diversity and entrepreneurship in the city of Athens: Different views and ambiguous perceptions of local entrepreneurs

Dimitris Balampanidis


The aim of this paper is to explore the role that the increasing urban diversity plays in the establishment, development and competitiveness of entrepreneurship. The study focuses on a central neighbourhood of Athens (Akadimia Platonos) and takes into account the condition of a long and continuous economic crisis. Research questions are explored through in-depth interviews with local entrepreneurs. The main argument of the paper is that perceptions of urban diversity differ depending on the individual profile of the interviewees and the aspects of diversity being discussed. It is suggested that the issue of urban diversity should be opened up to public debate, the aim being to understand and adequately address all its multiple aspects and effects on entrepreneurship and everyday life in general.

Parole chiave

diversity, entrepreneurship, perceptions, ambiguities, Athens

Full Text


Riferimenti bibliografici

Aldrich, H.E., & Zimmer, C. (1986). Entrepreneurship through social networks. In D.L. Sexton & R.W. Smilor (Eds.), The art and science of entrepreneurship (pp. 3-23). New York, Ballinger.

Alesina, A. & La Ferrara, E. (2005). Ethnic diversity and economic performance. Journal of Economic Literature, 43(3), 762-800.

Alexandre-Leclaire, L. (2014). Diversity as a motive for entrepreneurship?: The case of gender, culture and ethnicity. Journal of Innovation Economics & Management, 14(2). 157-175.

Armington, C. & Acs, Z.J. (2002). The Determinants of Regional Variation in New Firm Formation. Regional Studies, 36(1), 33-45.

Audretsch, D. & Keilbach, M. (2004). Entrepreneurship Capital and Economic Performance. Regional Studies, 38(8), 949-959.

Balampanidis, D. & Polyzos, I. (2016). Migrants’ settlement in two central neighborhoods of Athens. An analytical framework for urban transformations and interethnic coexistence. CITY. Analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 20(1), 75-90.

Balampanidis, D., Belavilas, N., Gleni, V., Polyzou, I. & Prentou, P. (2013). The effects of crisis on the commercial activities in central neighborhoods of Athens and Piraeus. -Resistance and dynamics. In Changes and redefinitions of space in Greek crisis (pp. 102-110). Volos, University Press of Thessaly. (in Greek)

Balampanidis, D., Souliotis, N., & Maloutas, T. (2016). Fieldwork entrepreneurs, Athens (Greece), Athens, National Centre for Social Research (EKKE).

Basu, A. (2004). Entrepreneurial aspirations among family business owners. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 10(1/2), 12-33.

Baycan-Levent, T., Gülümser, A.A., Kundak, S., Nijkamp, P. & Sahin, M. (2003). Diversity and ethnic entrepreneurship: Dialogue through exchanges in the economic arena. Sustainable Development in a Diverse World (SUS.DIV) Position paper of research task 4.4. http://www.ebos.com.cy/susdiv/uploadfiles/RT4_4_PP_Tuzin.pdf [Last Accessed: 1st March 2017].

Blanchflower, D.G. (2004). Self-employment: More may not be better. Swedish Economic Policy Review, 11, 15-73.

Bodaar, A. & Rath, J. (2005). Cities, diversity and public space. Metropolis World Bulletin, 5, 3-5.

Bonacich, E. (1973). A theory of middleman minorities. American Sociological Review, 38(5), 583-594.

Boschma, R.A. & Fritsch, M. (2009). Creative Class and Regional Growth: Empirical Evidence from Seven European Countries. Economic Geography, 85(4), 391-423.

Cavounidis, J. (2002). Migration in Southern Europe and the Case of Greece. International Migration, 40(1), 45-70.

EKKE-ESYE (National Centre for Social Research-National Statistical Service of Greece) (2005). Census data Panorama, 1991–2001. Data base and mapping application in the Institute of Urban and Rural Sociology. Athens, National Centre for Social Research (EKKE). (in Greek)

ELSTAT (Hellenic Statistical Authority) (2017). Turnover Index in Retail Trade (2010=100.0) (Provisional Data) (January 2000 - November 2016). http://www.statistics.gr/en/statistics/-/publication/DKT39/- [Last Accessed: 1st March 2017].

Emmanouel, D. (2006). Segregation, polarisation and inequalities in the geography of Athens: The role of real estate mechanisms and urban development (1980-2000). In T. Maloutas, D. Emmanouil & M. Padelidou-Malouta (Eds.), Athens. Social structures, practices and perceptions: New parameters and changing trends 1980-2000 (pp. 265-312). Athens, National Centre for Social Research (EKKE). (in Greek)

Eraydin, A., Tasan-Kok, T. & Vranken, J. (2010). Diversity matters: Immigrant entrepreneurship and contribution of different forms of social integration in economic performance of cities. European Planning Studies, 18, 521-543.

Fainstein, S. (2005). Cities and diversity. Should we want it? Can we plan for it?. Urban Affairs Review, 41(1), 3-19.

Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class: And how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York, Basic Books.

Freytag, A. & Thurik, R. (2007). Entrepreneurship and its determinants in a cross-country setting. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 17(2), 117-131.

Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 3, 481-510.

Greve, A. (1995). Networks and entrepreneurship – An analysis of social relations, occupational background, and use of contacts during the establishment process. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 11, 1-24.

Grilo, I. & Thurik, R. (2008). Determinants of entrepreneurial engagement levels in Europe and the US. Industrial and Corporate Change, 17(6), 1113-1145.

Hatziprokopiou, P. & Frangopoulos, Y. (2016). Migrant economies and everyday spaces in Athens in times of crisis. CITY. Analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 20(1), 61-74.

Hoang, H. & Antoncic, B. (2003). Network-based research in entrepreneurship: A critical review. Journal of Business Venturing, 18, 165-187.

INEMY-ESEE (Institute of Commerce and Services of National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce) (2015). Research on closed businesses along central commercial roads. City center of Athens and Piraeus. Athens, INEMY-ESEE. (in Greek)

Jenssen, J.I. (2001). Social networks, resources and entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 2, 103-109.

Kandylis, G., Arapoglou, V. & Maloutas, T. (2007). Immigration and the dipole ‘Competitiveness – Social Cohesion’ in Athens. Geographies, 13, 35-54. (in Greek)

Kandylis, G., Maloutas, T. & Sayas, J. (2012). Immigration, inequality and diversity: socio-ethnic hierarchy and spatial organization in Athens, Greece. European Urban and Regional Studies, 19, 267-286.

Kemeny, T. (2012). Cultural diversity, institutions, and urban economic performance. Environment and Planning A, 44, 2134-2152.

Klyver, K., Hindle, K. & Meyer, D. (2008). Influence of social network structure on entrepreneurship participation – A study of 20 national cultures. International Entrepreneurship and management Journal, 4(3), 331-347.

Leadbeater, C. (2008). The Difference Dividend. Why immigration is vital to innovation. London, NESTA.

Lianos, T., & Psiridou, A. (2013). Immigrants’ entrepreneurship in Greece. In T. Cavounidi, A. Condis, T. Lianos & R. Fakiolas (Eds.), Immigration to Greece: Experience, Policies, Perspectives (pp. 210-227). Athens, IMEPO. (in Greek)

Mavrommatis, G. (2008). Forms of Ethnic Entrepreneurship in Athens. In T. Cavounidi, A. Condis, T. Lianos & R. Fakiolas (Eds.), Immigration to Greece: Experience, Policies, Perspectives (228-247). Athens, IMEPO. (in Greek)

Nathan, M. (2011). The Economics of Super-Diversity: Findings from British Cities, 2001-2006. SERC Discussion Paper 68. London, Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC).

Nathan, M. (2015). After Florida: Towards an economics of diversity. European Urban and Regional Studies, 22(1), 3-19.

Ottaviano, G.I.P. & Peri, G. (2006). The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities. Journal of Economic Geography, 6, 9-44.

Page, S.E. (2007). The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton, Princeton University Press.

Pichler, F. & Wallace, C. (2007). Patterns of Formal and Informal Social Capital in Europe. European Sociological Review, 23(4), 423-435.

Portes, A. (1995). The economic sociology of immigration. Essays on networks, ethnicity and entrepreneurship. New York, Russel Sage Foundation.

Portes, A. & Sensenbrenner, J. (1993). Embeddedness and Immigration: Notes on the Social Determinants of Economic Action. The American Journal of Sociology, 98(6), 1320-1350.

Putnam, R.D. (2007). E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century. Scandinavian Political Studies, 30(2), 137-174.

Ripolles, M. & Blesa, A. (2005). Personal networks as fosterers of entrepreneurial orientation in new ventures. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 6, 239-248.

Saiz, A. (2003). Room in the kitchen for the melting pot: Immigration and rental prices. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(3), 502-521.

Saxenian, A.L. & Sabel, C. (2008). Venture Capital in the ‘Periphery’: The New Argonauts, Global Search and Local Institution-Building. Economic Geography, 84(4), 379-394.

Schutjens, V. & Völker, B. (2010). Space and Social Capital: The Degree of Locality in Entrepreneurs’ Contacts and its Consequences for Firm Success. European Planning Studies, 18(6), 941-963.

Serraos, K., Greve, T., Asprogerakas, E., Balampanidis, D., & Chani, A. (2016). Athens, a capital in crisis: tracing the socio-spatial impacts”. In J. Knieling & F. Othengrafen (Eds.), Cities in crisis. Socio-spatial impacts of the economic crisis in Southern European cities (pp. 116-138). London and New York, Routledge.

Sparber, C. (2010). Racial Diversity and Macroeconomic Productivity across US States and Cities. Regional Studies, 44(1), 71-85.

Syrett, S. & Sepulveda, L. (2011). Realising the diversity dividend: population diversity and urban economic development. Environment and Planning A, 43, 487-504.

Syrett, S. & Sepulveda, L. (2012). Urban governance and economic development in the diverse city. European Urban and Regional Studies, 19(3), 238-253.

Tasan-Kok, T., & Vranken, J. (2008). From survival to competition? The socio-spatial evolution of immigrant entrepreneurs in Antwerp. In P. Ache, H.T. Andersen, T. Maloutas, M. Raco & T. Tasan-Kok (Eds.), Cities between Competitiveness and Cohesion: Discourses, Realities and Implementation (pp. 151-168). Dordrecht, Springer.

Taylor, C. (2004). Modern Social Imaginaries. Durham, Duke University Press.

Tsiganou, I. (2013). Entrepreneurship, ‘Dangers’ and Competitiveness. In T. Maloutas, G. Kandylis, M. Petrou & N. Souliotis (Eds.), The city centre of Athens as political issue (pp. 145-167). Athens, National Centre for Social Research (EKKE) and Harokopio University (HUA). (in Greek)

Vaiou, D. (2014). Tracing aspects of the Greek crisis in Athens: Putting women in the picture. European Urban and Regional Studies. Doi: 10.1177/0969776414523802.

Vertovec, S. (2012). Diversity and the Social Imaginary. European Journal of Sociology, 53(3), 287-312.

Völker, B., & Flap, H. (2004). Social networks and performance at work. A study of returns to social capital while doing one’s job. In H. Flap & B. Völker (Eds.), Creation and Returns of Social Capital. Theory, Research and Measurement (pp. 172-195). London, Routledge.

Waldinger, R. (2003). Networks and niches: the continuing significance of ethnic connections. In L. Glenn, T. Modood & S. Teles (Eds.), Race, Ethnicity and Social Mobility in the US and UK (pp. 342-362). New York, Cambridge University Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14276/1971-8357.1053


  • Non ci sono refbacks, per ora.

Argomenti. Rivista di economia, cultura e ricerca sociale è una pubblicazione dell'Università di Urbino realizzata in collaborazione con la CNA delle Marche. Lo sviluppo e la manutenzione di questa installazione di OJS sono forniti da UniURB Open Journals, gestito dal Servizio Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo. E-ISSN 1971-8357 (Online). Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Urbino n. 4/2015.

 Licenza Creative CommonsSe non diversamente indicato, i contenuti di questa rivista sono pubblicati sotto licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione 4.0 Internazionale.