Necessity Entrepreneurs

Necessity Entrepreneurs

Microenterprise Education and Economic Development

Edited by Jeremi Brewer and Stephen W. Gibson

Necessity entrepreneurs, in developing countries, are individuals who start small enterprises out of necessity. While they range from street sellers to educated hopefuls with little access to formal employment, the one thing that unites them is the need to survive. This volume is the first-known compilation of theories contributed by international scholars who have worked together to establish a theory-based discourse on necessity entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise education, and long-term economic development.

Chapter 9: Policy analysis for entrepreneurship education in necessity-based contexts: a Sri Lankan case study

Eva Balan-Vnuk, Manjula Dissanyake and Allan O'Connor

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business, development studies, social entrepreneurship


The development of entrepreneurs in order to stimulate economic growth is a key component of government policies (Hannon, 2006), and policy makers appear to consider entrepreneurship education and training as 'an efficient mechanism for increasing entrepreneurial activity' (Martinez, Levie, Kelley, Sæmundsson and Schøtt, 2010, p. 43). Government policies encouraging the education and development of entrepreneurs are evident in countries around the globe (Xavier, Kelley, Kew, Herrington and Vorderwülbecke, 2012), however evaluating the contribution of entrepreneurship education to a country and its economy has proved challenging (O'Connor, 2013). In this chapter we analyze policies for entrepreneurship education in a country that exhibits a high level of necessity-based entrepreneurship. Necessity-driven entrepreneurs are defined as 'those who are pushed into starting businesses because they have no other work options and need a source of income'. This is contrasted with opportunity-driven entrepreneurs who undertake entrepreneurial activities in order to pursue a perceived opportunity (Xavier et al., 2012, p. 8). There is very little academic research regarding necessity-driven entrepreneurs, and even less so in countries that are in relatively early stages of development.

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