This exploratory study conducted in heavily indigenous communities was undertaken to investigate entrepreneurial perceptions of community (sense of place, image, and positioning) and social capital (reciprocity, shared vision, and density of networks) resources present in rural communities, and the sponsorship involvement of the entrepreneurs in community activities. The uniqueness of the study was its focus on indigenous communities with a higher than state average Native-American population. Previous work highlighting the collective nature and attitudes of Native Americans was not supported for the entrepreneurs in this study. Indigenous entrepreneurs were those who identified their ethnicity as Native American and majority entrepreneurs were those who identified their ethnicity as white. For indigenous entrepreneurs, there were no significant correlations among social capital resources or community resources and sponsorship. For majority entrepreneurs, all three social capital resources correlated significantly with sponsorship, and none of the community resources correlated significantly with sponsorship. The correlation between image and sponsorship was statistically significant for the total sample (n=149).
Mean scores to each of the social capital and community resources were calculated. Positioning was the resource with the lowest mean score. The positioning statement differentiates one downtown from a competing downtown and is indicative of how the downtown wants to be perceived. The findings point to the need for economic development officials to strengthen community positioning through an improved understanding and acceptance of the community’s position statement by business owners in the community.