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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson
Chapter 22: An Ethnographic Study of Entrepreneurship Among the Sámi People of Finland
Teresa E. Dana and Liisa Remes Introduction This chapter reports the ﬁndings of ethnographic research conducted in Finland. Respondents describe changes brought about by European Union regulations and Finnish laws that lack cultural sensitivity, thereby transforming the nature of traditional Sámi entrepreneurship. Many of these indigenous people have had to start an additional business or work to make ends meet. Context of our research The Agder Research Foundation has studied why people in Lapland, the core region of the indigenous Sámi, start their own enterprises. The foundation has also examined alternatives whereby the government could promote more entrepreneurship. The ﬁndings concluded that there are signiﬁcant diﬀerences between Sámi and non-Sámi entrepreneurs: the non-indigenous are more concerned about growth and they are more likely to have the skills needed to get growth in their business. In that study, the main reason to become an entrepreneur was to stay and live in the area and, in order to be able to do so, one had to start a business. One reason to start a business that the non-native did not give was to promote the Sámi culture, e.g., hunting / ﬁshing-related activities. In this chapter, we discuss ﬁndings of our recent ethnographic research. We discovered tension between Sámi people and Lapp men who also claim rights to the land. Respondents also revealed discontent with new regulation that hinders their traditional means of livelihood. Theoretical framework Central to Sámi culture is the enterprise of...
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