NIRA Research Report No. 20020024
The present Issues and the Future Directions
of Community-Business for
Supporting and Activating the Local Community
Japan is standing at a social and economic cross road. The issues for local communities such as the rising rate of unemployment and the weakened potential of a local community are arising one after another. But Administrative-Sector and Enterprise-Sector cannot solve all issues.
In this situation, Community-Businesses (hereinafter referred to as "CB")which try to solve issues of a local community mainly by local residents has come under spotlight. The CB is characterized with its profitability in that it secures independence of their activity with sound income source of its own business; regionality in that it acts in a limited area; innovation in that it lists not only its private profit but solutions for the local community as its business activity and goals; civil nature in that the initiative in its capital and operation is taken by civil sector such as locak resident; and contribution to the local community in that it actually makes marked contribution to solve local problems by returning a part of its earnings to the community or enlarging employment in the community.
It is expected that development of a CB in a local community leads to solution of local problem by communizing the awareness to teh problem and creating the clue and measures to solve it. Meanwhile, the business itself is also expected to contribute to activation of the local economy by creating employment as its own effect. In addition, it is expected that the CB act as a safety-net to supplement local services which is so unpayable that other sectors cannot provide, substitute the functions which have been provided by the administrative sector, and reproduce the weakened local community by motivating the residents to act together through the business.
However, there are a lot of problems to solve to extend the CB. To solve the problems in exerting its social and economic functions, what is required is: (1) designation of goals in contributing to the community, (2) "selection and concentration" to a business with high effect to create employment, (3) promotion of a business which provides "neighboring, casual, economical and brotherly service" which is required in the results from the questionnaire to the residents, and (4) creation of business opportunities by local government such as "(tentative name) time-limited administrative function substitution service competition business".
Additionally, to solve the problem in managing the CB, it is important to (1) incorporate stable profitable business such as business commissioned form the goernment and nursing care insurance service, (2) undertake a new business such as "paid kindness system", (3) cultivate professional staff by internship, etc., and (4) lend an unused public space.
Although the CB should be independent, however, the results of questionnaire shows that external support is necessary including "fixed-term financial support", "commission of business" and "place for activity" are supplied by the administrative body, with "financial support which is linked to the core business" by the private enterprises, as well as "participation to the activity and liaison between residential groups and CB" by local residents.
Finally, it is indicated that what is the most important to promote CB is that the local residents "change local issues into their own issues" to solve the local problems by themselves by leaving their so called "Okami-ishiki", which means the tendency to depend on government and authority. From such a new attitude, a "local problem solution system" can be constructed by CBs, government, enterprises and residents, where the residents play a central role.
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