Constructing a multi-dimensional measure of local entrepreneurial culture

Nicole Breazeale, Michael W.P. Fortunato, James E. Allen, Ronald J. Hustedde, Helen Pushkarskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This article proposes a scale that measures the local entrepreneurial culture of a place based on residents’ perceptions. The initial 36-item pool was developed through semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in Kentucky (USA) and then reviewed by a focus group composed of entrepreneurship coaches. These items were included in an extensive survey of rural and urban Kentuckians. Factor analysis resulted in a 17-item scale with four major components. To ascertain the predictive validity of the subscales, a series of analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models evaluated their correlations with county-level rates of entrepreneurship obtained from an independent data set. The analysis confirmed that perceptions of the local entrepreneurial culture do correlate with entrepreneurial activity. In line with the theoretical model presented in this article, the ANCOVAs also controlled for the modulating effect of important individual-level characteristics and regional factors. The proposed scale is recommended for use by entrepreneurship support programs that provide one-on-one assistance for small businesses, yet seldom assess nor consider how they might improve the entrepreneurial culture of the place where these businesses operate. Furthermore, this measure is an important contribution to entrepreneurship research. Existing measures of entrepreneurial culture focus mostly on the regional and national levels, overlooking the role of local cultural characteristics; they also tend to focus on general cultural attributes rather than on residents’ perceptions of the entrepreneurial climate. This entrepreneurship culture scale opens the door to new directions in research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-540
Number of pages25
JournalCommunity Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are deeply indebted to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for funding the Kentucky Entrepreneurship Survey, and thus this research project [grant number 2011-68006-30807].

Funding Information:
The authors also extend sincere thanks to key members of the research team who were essential to the completion of this study, most especially Principal Investigator Alison Davis of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) and Co-Principal Investigator Ellen Usher at the University of Kentucky. Critical graduate student support was provided by Cami Bush at Western Kentucky University (WKU) and Shaheer Burney of CEDIK. WKU undergraduates Spencer Walters and Stephen Gibbons also contributed to this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Community Development Society.


  • community asset mapping
  • entrepreneurship
  • research methods
  • rural economic development
  • urban–rural interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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