The Role of Non-Economic Forms of Capital in Green Venture Creation: A Bourdieusian Approach
Ecopreneurs play a vital role in the creation of a more sustainable economy. Yet, we know little of how ecopreneurs mobilise and utilise their entrepreneurial capital to simultaneously create economic and ecological value. To address this issue, the study utilizes Bourdieu’s approach to capital, focusing on the role of non-economic forms of capital (cultural, symbolic and social) in the process of green venture creation. We adopt a qualitative approach with a multiple case study design. Selected eight ecopreneurs are laureates of green start-up competitions in Austria and operate in the fields of food, housing and waste management. For data analysis, we employ a narrative approach. Our findings demonstrate the relevance of embodied and objectified cultural capital, multiple media appearance and prizes as part of symbolic capital as well as bridging social ties for the creation of a green enterprise. The study also exposes a variety of capital conversions. Cultural capital is primarily converted into symbolic capital. Symbolic capital appears to be a catalyzer for relevant bridging ties and economic capital. Social capital plays an important mediating role by strengthening the symbolic capital. In addition to the single conversion paths, we discovered several conversion chains with different types of capital. The article contributes to the emerging field of ecopreneurship by providing a more nuanced picture of how ecopreneurs organize a green enterprise. In addition, the study complements entrepreneurship research in general, which so far has taken little account of the complexity and changeability of entrepreneurial capital.
environmental entrepreneurship; ecopreneurship; cultural capital; symbolic capital; social capital; Bourdieu; qualitative study; narrative analysis
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