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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

The role of profit as a signpost and source of livelihood for the low-income entrepreneur are reviewed. The underlying logic of profit in start-up ventures is examined. A simple framework is introduced to capture the entrepreneur’s profit model. It includes margins, volumes, operating leverage and revenue capture. The model indicates the relative attractiveness of the venture. It helps illustrate why low-income entrepreneurs struggle to make much money from their ventures, and rarely get rich. The model also serves as a diagnostic tool that the entrepreneur can use to enhance the profit potential of the business. Specific ways in which the profit potential of low-income entrepreneurs can be increased are identified.

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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

Attention is devoted to determining what it takes for those in poverty to start ventures that are competitive and sustainable. The roles of, and associated difficulties with, planning and goal setting are examined. The need to overcome a proclivity among low-income entrepreneurs to run the venture from a more reactive and tactical, rather than strategic, vantage point is examined. Methods for transforming what are often perceived as commodity businesses into well-differentiated businesses are introduced. The central role of price, and the inclination of low-income entrepreneurs to underprice their products and services, is explored. Consideration is devoted to the risk orientation of many low-income entrepreneurs, and how it deters the venture from growing.

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Susana C Santos, Sílvia Fernandes Costa and António Caetano

This study presents the entrepreneurial potential construct in entrepreneurial teams competing in a venture competition, following a proxy for longitudinal research. We assessed the entrepreneurial potential profile of entrepreneurial teams and, based on the results, we were able to predict four track finalists and the grand finalist of the venture competition. The results based on the socio-psychological aspects of entrepreneurial potential profiles and team productivity of each team allowed us to predict (seven months ahead) the grand finalist of the venture competition awarded by an international expert judge panel. Our results showed that an entrepreneurial potential profile can be a useful tool to pick out successful and high potential teams. We also reflect on the relevance of considering entrepreneurial potential at the team level, considering entrepreneurship in a multilevel perspective. Key words: entrepreneurial teams, entrepreneurial potential profiles, psychosocial dimensions, venture competition

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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.

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

The importance of technology and the need to better integrate it into the ventures of the poor are explored. Attention is devoted to understanding technology as a product versus a process and what this distinction means for poverty entrepreneurs. The many aspects of a venture that are affected by technology are identified. The concepts of technological literacy and the digital divide, and how both apply to low-income entrepreneurs, are examined. Consideration is given to the specific implications of technology for the low-income entrepreneur’s opportunity horizon and decision-making processes. Tools and options available to the poor when it comes to leveraging technology in their ventures are outlined.

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

Infrastructure is defined and a distinction is drawn between general infrastructure in the neighborhoods and communities of the poor and entrepreneurship-specific infrastructure, or the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ways in which components of each affect the poor and their ventures are identified. The dynamic nature of infrastructure is emphasized. Challenges confronted by the poor in accessing the elements of an entrepreneurial ecosystem are examined. The role of infrastructure components across the stages of venture development are assessed, and implications are drawn for those in poverty attempting to start and grow ventures.