International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship
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International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson

The comprehensive and thoroughly accessible International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship aims to develop a multidisciplinary theory explaining entrepreneurship as a function of cultural perceptions of opportunity. The Handbook presents a multitude of fascinating, superbly illustrated studies on the facets of entrepreneurship amongst indigenous peoples.
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Chapter 41: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entrepreneurship in Australia: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Michael Schaper


Michael Schaper Introduction Entrepreneurship is not just the product of an economic system; it is also shaped by, and profoundly affects, the cultures within which it operates. For many minority ethnic groups, there has often been a clash between their traditional values and those of modern freemarket entrepreneurship. This dichotomy has been especially pronounced for indigenous peoples displaced by European settlement and colonisation between the Renaissance and the twentieth century. For many of these so-called ‘first nations’, the changes have resulted in a loss of political, economic and legal power, with communities being economically marginalised and left dependent on welfare and public support for survival. Ironically, however, entrepreneurship now also offers opportunities for many such groups to reclaim some of their traditional strengths. Like other indigenous peoples across the world, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia1 have had to deal with many changes in the two hundred years since Europeans first began to settle the continent. During that time, there have been substantial changes in the social, cultural, political and economic position of indigenous society. From a traditional hunter–gatherer economy little changed over several centuries, indigenous Australians have since had to adapt to the threats and opportunities provided by a liberal market economy. Whilst some substantial improvements have recently been made, Aboriginal peoples still lag far behind their European contemporaries in many areas of economic activity, such as individual enterprise and business creation. This chapter examines the status of indigenous entrepreneurship in Australia. It begins...

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