Chapter 47: Small Island Entrepreneurship
* Godfrey Baldacchino Most definitions of entrepreneurs tells us nothing about how difficult or easy it may be for such an entrepreneur to develop in a particular geographical, regional, socioeconomic or cultural context. Nor does it tell us whether the act of being an entrepreneur renders this activity exceptional, habitual or anywhere in between the members of a particular social group. Are entrepreneurial skills really scarce by definition? And can the experience, nature and overall challenges of entrepreneurship be somehow patterned in terms of geographical context? DAUNTING CONTEXT Island entrepreneurship relates to the practice of ‘doing business’ on, and by, island societies. These communities have to contend with the various implications of their islandness: limited land area and finite resources; limited domestic markets and client bases; physical isolation; and local consumption patterns that prefer imports from the metropole to locally made commodities. A powerful local mercantile elite would also often peddle low-risk mercantilism (meaning wholesale and retail trade with low local productive value added) or otherwise engage in service activities which do not suffer as badly from scale economies (Baldacchino, 1995; 1998). Even where island territories have good quality and competitive products, there may be difficulties in sourcing effective research and development capability, skilled human resources, suitable terms for financing and/or appropriate technology. And there may be important differences even on one island (Baldacchino and Dana, 2006; Dana and Dana, 2000). A global knowledge economy context continues to raise the stakes. As the world heads inexorably towards becoming a network of...
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