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Dr V.A.J.M. Schutjens (1963) has been named professor by special appointment of Ethnic Entrepreneurship at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The chair was designated on behalf of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (Stichting VNO-NCW).

Prof Veronique Schutjens, professor Ethnic Entrepreneurship

The interplay between local businesses and neighbourhoods forms a recurring theme in Veronique Schutjens’ research. She sees her professorship as an opportunity to shed light on the trajectories of different types and generations of local ethnic businesses and to ascertain the extent to which their viability and prospects for growth ever did or still do diverge from those of other businesses. And if such divergence exists: why? Another research theme she is working on is the local embedding of ethnic businesses in neighbourhoods and communities and the influence they have on their surroundings – both other business owners and residents. 

As an economic geographer, Schutjens is interested in identifying spatial differences in and spatial explanations for entrepreneurship and small-scale business, and welcomes input from other disciplines. For example, she works closely with economists and sociologists to describe and explain variations in emerging, new, growing and social entrepreneurship between countries, regions, cities and neighbourhoods. A central factor at the neighbourhood level is the changing importance of local social networks for entrepreneurs and their businesses. 

In 2007, Schutjens and Beate Volker, a sociologist, received a High Potential Grant from Utrecht University (UU) to conduct research into the interplay between neighbourhood residents and neighbourhood businesses. As more and more people become entrepreneurs and conduct their business activities from home – in residential neighbourhoods – this interaction is playing an ever more marked role, with an increasingly ‘local’ mix of businesses, entrepreneurs and residents. In 2009, Schutjens and Volker received a Medium Investment Grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to continue their research on businesses, residents and neighbourhoods in the form of a panel study designed to examine the conditions for and consequences of changing local entrepreneurship. 

Schutjens has been an economic geographer at the UU’s Faculty of Humanities since 1988, in recent years as a university senior lecturer. Previously, she worked at the University of Groningen and at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Milieu- en Natuurplanbureau) in Bilthoven. Schutjens obtained her doctorate at the UU in 1993 on the consequences of the changing population makeup and the basis for retail facilities in post-war residential neighbourhoods. She has published widely in the Netherlands and authored articles in international journals including Small Business Economics, European Planning StudiesJournal of Economic and Social Geography, Annals of Regional Science en Journal of Urban Affairs.