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Susana C. Santos and António Caetano

Entrepreneurial activities are inherently dynamic phenomena, but they have largely been treated as static in research. It is well established that they influence and are influenced by processes at different layers (i.e., individuals, teams, ventures, regions, countries). In this chapter we reflect on the reality of entrepreneurship from a complex systems perspective, and as such as a research field that benefits from a multilevel approach. First, we revisit multilevel theory and we expand on the importance of alignment and consistency in the level of theory, the level of measurement and the level of analysis. Next, we take a glance at several studies that have addressed multilevel issues in different topics of entrepreneurship. Finally, we discuss some assumptions of the multilevel perspective and ongoing challenges.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

Policy recommendations and related community initiatives that can foster entrepreneurship among the poor in developed economies are examined. Ongoing gaps in policies to support low-income entrepreneurs are identified. Eight principal policy levers available to foster entrepreneurial activity among the poor are reviewed. Complementing these are a wide variety of support initiatives typically initiated at a community level. Rather than approach these individually or on a piecemeal basis, attention is devoted to describing the elements of a more holistic policy framework. The stages in the SPODER model for facilitating low-income entrepreneurship introduced in Chapter 3 are revisited from a policy perspective.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

While extensively explored as a solution to poverty at the base of the pyramid, this is the first in-depth examination of entrepreneurship and the poor within advanced economies. The authors explore the underlying nature of poverty and draw implications for new venture creation. Entrepreneurship is presented as a source of empowerment that represents an alternative pathway out of poverty.
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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

The extent of poverty and the poverty challenge in developed economies is examined. Emphasis is placed on poverty as a characteristic not of a person but a person’s situation. Attention is devoted to the complex and multi-dimensional nature of poverty. Situational and generational poverty are distinguished from one another. Characteristics of the poor are summarized. The individual, community and societal implications of poverty are explored with a focus on the real benefits of finding ways to reduce the numbers of poor people. Challenges in escaping from poverty are investigated, together with the inadequacies of current solutions to these challenges. Entrepreneurship is introduced as an alternative and potentially complementary solution.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

Entrepreneurship is defined and its underlying nature is explored. The concept of an entrepreneurial mindset is introduced, characterized, and its implications for the poor are examined. The process nature of entrepreneurship is investigated, and unique aspects of the stages of this process for a person in poverty are addressed. Entrepreneurship is characterized as an unpredictable, non-linear and often chaotic journey where the individual is creating reality as events emerge. Key competencies that enable the entrepreneur to successfully navigate this journey are then identified. Attention is devoted to understanding the ways in which entrepreneurship can serve as a solution to poverty.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

The patterns in entrepreneurial activity among the poor in developed economies are examined. Characteristics of those who start businesses when coming from poverty are reviewed. Critical aspects of the poverty condition and their direct implications for entrepreneurial activity are summarized. In spite of the significant challenges, entrepreneurship is approached as a natural path for the poor. Motives for pursuing this path are then examined. Building on this foundation, the SPODER framework is introduced for increasing entrepreneurial activity among the poor. The remaining chapters of this book are structured around this framework.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

Attention is devoted to understanding who starts ventures and what they actually create. The first of these two questions considers what we know about the characteristics, traits and motives of successful entrepreneurs. Acknowledging the significant diversity to be found among these individuals, the patterns in terms of general types or categories of entrepreneurs that tend to emerge are considered. With the second question, patterns in the types of ventures created by entrepreneurs are examined, with four distinct types and their associated characteristics identified. In addressing both questions, implications are drawn for a person in poverty, including the unique challenges they confront, and what is required to overcome these challenges.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

The nature of entrepreneurial opportunities is examined. Attention is devoted to how opportunities are uncovered and key sources of opportunity. The notion of the entrepreneur’s opportunity horizon is introduced and applied to those in poverty. The role of the immediate environment is emphasized. Factors that constrain the opportunity horizon of a person in poverty are identified, together with possible ways to expand the individual’s horizon. The emergent nature of opportunities is explored, and the corridor principle is applied to the person in poverty.

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Michael H. Morris, Susana C. Santos and Xaver Neumeyer

The nature of literacy and its underlying dimensions are explored. Patterns in literacy levels among the poor are examined. Implications of different aspects of literacy and different types of literacy for various aspects of successful venture creation are investigated. Five unique literacies are investigated – functional, financial, economic, business, and technological. Attention is devoted to understanding challenges faced by the poor when it comes to each of these literacies. Emphasis is placed on the abilities of low-income entrepreneurs to continually learn and adapt as a venture unfolds. Finally, we explore approaches to improving literacy levels among the poor.