Minorities in Entrepreneurship

Minorities in Entrepreneurship

An International Review

Glenice J. Wood, Marilyn J. Davidson and Sandra L. Fielden

Although there is an expanding body of literature on the characteristics, aspirations, motivations, challenges and barriers of mainstream entrepreneurs, relatively little is known about whether these findings can be applied to the entrepreneurial activities of minority groups. This book addresses this short-fall and presents an international review of the characteristics, motivations and obstacles of eight minority groups: younger; older; women; ethnic; immigrant; lesbian, gay and bisexual; disabled; and indigenous entrepreneurs.

Chapter 9: Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Glenice J. Wood, Marilyn J. Davidson and Sandra L. Fielden

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management, international business, organisational behaviour


Well it’s the fact that we – my Aboriginal people – we’re so smart. For thousands of years we found ways to live richly in deserts and hard places where other people might have just shrivelled and died. And despite all the mistreatment of the last two hundred years, we’re still here; we’re still trying. We’re resilient you know. (Leonore Dembski, cited in Hindle and Lansdowne, 2007, p. 15) INTRODUCTION There has been an upsurge in research focused on entrepreneurial behaviour, mainly in Western countries, but also in industrialized emerging economies over the past 25 years (Peredo et al., 2004; Peredo and Anderson, 2006). This has added greatly to our collective knowledge, particularly in relation to motivations, strategies and contributions to the economic development in each country; however, little is known about the applicability of these generalizations to Indigenous populations (Peredo et al., 2004). It may be that findings related to mainstream entrepreneurship are not applicable to Indigenous entrepreneurs (Hindle and Moroz, 2009). Research into Indigenous entrepreneurship is expanding. One of the key reasons for this is that many Indigenous peoples have a high dependency on welfare, hence governments worldwide see benefits in policies and practices that effectively reduce the ongoing welfare systems required to sustain a population where unemployment is endemic. In addition, many authors consider that successful entrepreneurial business ventures are central to the economic development of Indigenous people (e.g., Peredo et al., 2004). There appears to be wide consensus that ‘passive welfare has failed and Indigenous disadvantage is massive’...

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