At the beginning of 2018, Aleid Brouwer* was installed as a professor in Purposeful Entrepreneurship. The professorship is located at the Leeuwarden campus, but also regularly works on and with the Emmen campus. The focus of the research within the chair focusses on the development of sutainable, circular, sharing and social entrepreneurship, sustainable employment and the enhancement of entrepreneurial ecosystems. The chair is part of the International Business Administration Academy, research group Vital Economy. Research is done, among others, within a large INTERREG NSR project ‘Futures by Design’ and the EFRO Human Capital project ‘Make IT work in the North’.

The research projects within the chair of purposeful Entrepreneurship focus on regional research within small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and the ‘quatro helix setting’. These are co-creation projects for SME with international partners, as well as (research) projects from the provinces of Fryslan and/or Drenthe.

* Dr. Aleid Brouwer is currently not affiliated with NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences.

Research & Education

The chair of Purposeful Entrepreneurship argues that strategies for purposeful businesses are found at the crossroads of various disciplines. It works together with researchers, lecturers and students from (international) business and human resource management HRM and cooperates furthermore with international economics, accountancy, social media and logistics researchers. As such, knowledge about sustainable, circular, inclusive and impact entrepreneurship; long term employment and enhancement of entrepreneurial ecosystems is developed.

With the focus on Purposeful entreprneurship new research possibilities arise. For example regarding new ways of developing social physical sustainability within Fryslan’s regional economy and other regions in which NHLStenden is active. In this respect, the role of the region and the interaction between all stakeholders in the region is of great importance. This is, so to speak, an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The competencies that students will develop in cooperation in the activities of this chair are: strategic networking, long term scenario thinking, spotting regional opportunities and recognising barriers for development. Furthermore, they focus on long term development of human capital, regional connectivity and critical and innovative thinking. The chairs’ themes and the choice to work with a Design Based Research approach offer multiple opportunities to develop projects within our DBE education.

The chair joins the mission of the Vital Economy research group to contribute to the innovation of ambitious organisations, company’s strategies and processes and professionals in order to reach excellent results and by doing so contribute to a strong regional economy.

Research Methods

The applied research of this chair is as such that the results should be beneficial to regional actors and directly applicable to the region, for example by adjusting regional policy (government level), by administrating recommendations and giving practical tools (company level), or by providing substantive input for an even more focused study (university of applied sciences level). A cooperation in the so-called quatro-helix setting therefore is present in all research projects within the chair. The research group is a the centre where expertise, experience and substantive input of various parties are collected, requested and displayed.

The professor applies both the quantitative and qualitative research methods and aims – where possible – to implement the Design Based Research (DBR) strategy.


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
International Business Administration Academy
email :

Recent Funds

  • Make IT work in the North. Funded by ERFO HC, investigates on inflow into the IT labour market for non IT trained personnel. In cooperation with Harm van Lieshout (Hanze University of Applied Sciences) and IT Academy North Netherland. Total budget: 1.221.114 euro, NHL Stenden: 236.052 euro (2018)
  • Futures by Design INTERREG North Sea Region. Generation future proof sme’s in hinterland regions by the use of big data. Lead partner in cooperation with Provinsje Fryslân . Total budget: 4.376.407 euro, NHL Stenden/ Provinsje Fryslân 778.596 euro (2019)
  • COST European cooperation in Science and Technology: The geography of New Working Spaces and the impact on the periphery. PI I. Mariotti. Total budget: 140.000 euro. Partner with Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen & NHL Stenden Hogeschool (2019)

Recent Scientific Publications

  1. Koster, S., A.E. Brouwer & E. van Leeuwen (2019) Diversity as the key to success? Sector diversity and its effect on employment dynamics in urban and rural municipalities in the Netherlands. Regional Studies, forthcoming
  2. Brouwer, A.E. & T. Kohl (2019) Trade blocs: regional space of trade. In: Kobayashi, A. (ed). International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd edition. Kidlington: Elsevier, forthcoming
  3. Enthoven, M.P.M & A.E. Brouwer (2019) It is all about good food: spatial concentration of sustainable restaurants. Annals of Regional Science, Forthcoming
  4. Brouwer, A.E. & M.P.M. Enthoven (2019) The choice for a sustainable cuisine: passion and self-transcendence in the restaurant business. Research in Hospitality Management Journal, forthcoming
  5. Brouwer, A.E. & H. Delfmann (2019) Grey entrepreneurship, A qualitative study toward understanding the motivation to and the effects on wellbeing of later life entrepreneurship. In: Karlsson, C., M. Backman & O. Kekezi (eds.) Handbook on Entrepreneurship and Ageing.  Edward Elgar. Forthcoming
  6. Musolino, D., I. Mariotti & A.E. Brouwer (2019) Introduction: Stated and revealed locational preferences: a national scale. Annals of Regional Science, forthcoming
  7. Mariotti, I. , A.E. Brouwer & M. Gormalini (2018) Is Milan a city for the elderly? Mobility for aging in place. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, open access
  8. Bricocoli, M., Brouwer, A. E., & Gargiulo, C. (2018). Special Issue 2.2018 Elderly Mobility PREFACE. Tema-Journal of land use mobility and environment, 3-8, open access
  9. Abreu, M., A.E. Brouwer, E. van Leeuwen & Ö. Öner (2018) Well-being effects of self-employment: a spatial inquiry.  Journal of Business Venturing. Forthcoming.
  10. Brouwer, A.E., & B. Tool (2018) Eenzijdig aanbod van winkels leidt tot meer winkelleegstand. Real Estate Research Quarterly.
  11. De Jong, P., P. Van Hattum, J. Rouwendaal & A.E. Brouwer (2018) The older adult doesn’t exist: using values to differentiate older adults in the Dutch housing market. Housing Studies. 33(7): 1014-1037.

Secondary Functions

2019: NWO SGW Assessment Committee digitalisation call, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek).
2019: Guest Editor for special Issue Annals of Regional Science
2017- now: Audit committee Regional Science Association Netherlands
2018- now : Supervisory Board MEE Noord
2008-now UD Spatial Sciences Faculty (Faculteit Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen