According to Woolcock, social capital can be defined as the "norms and networks facilitating collective action for mutual benefit". Furthermore, Gabbay and Leenders suggest that social capital offers some potential for integrating the proliferation of network research that has been developed over the last 30 years. Examines an innovatory partnership between Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS) and a number of agencies including the Prince's Trust to provide skills to entrepreneurs from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. The New Entrepreneur Scholarship Scheme (NESS) was the result of an initiative by the Chancellor Gordon Brown to encourage higher education institutes to make a larger contribution to the UK's entrepreneurial culture. MMUBS piloted the first NESS programme for 18 nascent entrepreneurs. It was decided to adopt an "action-learning" approach concentrating on the development of a realistic business idea as well as creating a supportive environment within the group. This intervention has aided NESS participants by building and strengthening networks that become the basis of their social capital.
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