Bourdieu’s non-material forms of capital : implications for start-up policy

Lee, Robert and Shaw, Eleanor (2016) Bourdieu’s non-material forms of capital : implications for start-up policy. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. 1 - 37. ISSN 1472-3425 (

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The role of Bourdieu’s non-material forms of capital (cultural, social and symbolic) in the entrepreneurial process has received little dedicated research attention. Similarly, the link between occupationally distinct entrepreneurship and accumulation of non-material capitals is understudied. Addressing this, we examine the non-material capitals of different nascent entrepreneurs by occupational classification who participated on two enterprise-training programmes funded by the 1997-2010 Labour Government; each with considerably different foci. Findings demonstrate that professional and higher technician entrepreneurs possess valuable non-material capitals, in contrast to non-professional entrepreneurs. Against the backdrop of recent business enterprise policy, findings suggest that policy-makers should prioritise focused support that nurtures the valuable, productive non-material capitals of professional and higher technician entrepreneurs. Furthermore, initiatives should be tailored to improve the less distinguished non-material capitals of non-professional entrepreneurs.