This book investigates how small, independent, and locally operated business service providers explain the success of the Canadian «business improvement area» (BIA) concept. «Small», «local» and «independent» are three metrics for measuring small-scale entrepreneurship, which is studied through the lenses of anthropology, economics, geography, and sociology.
The book collects years of interviewing, reading and thinking about the capacity of firms of this kind to transform local neighbourhoods. In the first part, the authors present case studies on particular Canadian cities to show (i) how small businesses survive in large cities, and (ii) what cities foster and maintain the advantages of having independent local ownership.
Part II shows the movement created by small businesses in order to promote their local neighbourhoods. In this part the authors describe the birth of the Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the policy to promote local investment and job creation.
In more detail, Chapter 2 analyses how the notion of collective action was applied by small businesses to create the BIA. Chapter 3 shows the case of Haligonian businesses, which excel in cooperation.