Sunna Kovanen is Finnish and was in Moura to develop research work under the RurAction project under the guidance of ADCMmoura, one of the participating social enterprises.
“Before joining the ruraction project, I studied human geography at the university of Eastern Finland and the university of Turku. Perhaps thanks to my past in Finland, I have been interested, during my studies, for regional development issues and sustenance strategies in peripheral territories. I board them, however, as global challenges from the perspective of the political economy. That is why I also got involved in social and solidarity economy networks in Finland and Germany, in civil life and professionally. In addition, I have been working on non-government organizations working in the areas of migration and civic education, as well as in the European Union office for eastern and Northern Finland in Brussels. More recently, I performed an internship in financial management in a cooperative, which provides financial advice and a crowdfunding platform for social companies in Finland. The goal was to improve my practical skills in management of social ventures, but I also participated in the development of instruments of advice, law and community funding I have also participated and presented communications in different conferences inside and outside Finland, as well as published scientific articles on research dissemination platforms, among others.
My research project has the title “social entrepreneurship as a collaborative process”. This research aims to boost a little explored theme in the field of rural social entrepreneurship. There has been a strong focus on individual change agents as drivers of social innovation, although without empirical support and critical reflection. Therefore, it is necessary to understand and better analyze the “social” of entrepreneurship This was addressed especially with rural and institutional sociology. Many studies of rural sociology, however, are based on the theory of rational action and tend to neglect the ambiguity and mixed experiences of the collaborative organization. In addition, the focus on local social structures has hidden the multi-scale links of peripheral phenomena. The applications of institutional sociology, for example, highlighted how local action can be directed and cooptada by large-scale neoliberal policies. However, local actors can also benefit from connections with global civic movements, pairs networks and conscious consumers. Collaboration requires negotiation between different stakeholders, which has been shown as a crucial but especially challenging task for the long-term operation of the initiatives.
This research aims to understand the role that collaboration plays in the long term both for the sustainability of entrepreneurship and for its ability to make changes. The main research issues are: (a) what is the relevance and limits of collaboration for the long-term sustainability of rural social companies? (b) how are new sustainable practices shaped, carried out or limited by collaboration? Research is based on communities and networks of theories about social practices. We focus social ventures like us on the networks of various economic practices, aiming to introduce new practices for the creation of networks with entrepreneurial
Research aims to identify both local and local standards in collaborative dynamics. It will therefore be conducted with the method of comparative studies of international cases in the regions of uckermark (Germany) as well as in the Alentejo (Portugal) The main methods will be semi-structured interviews and short-term participating comments with internal and external participants of social companies. The main interviews will be supported by the analysis of free networks The focus will be on companies that have been operating for at least 5 years in areas such as agriculture, Tourism, processing of agricultural products and green
Click here to learn more about my project.
Thanks to ADC Moura for the interview and the picture!