Concepts and Cases
Edited by Joseph Mark S. Munoz
Chapter 2: Microenterprise Start-up: A Cross-national Comparison
Michael Troilo INTRODUCTION This chapter compares the experiences of two entrepreneurs as they start businesses in foreign countries. The first entrepreneur is a US citizen of Chinese descent who decided to seek his fortune as a cafe owner in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The second entrepreneur is a Vietnamese who spent his childhood in both Hanoi and Saigon before moving to the United States to pursue higher education, and then established his own real estate firm. Besides both being male and Asian, these entrepreneurs have the same age and similar educational backgrounds. The purpose of these case studies is to highlight the differences between microenterprise start-up in an emerging economy as compared to a developed country, in a common landscape where a microenterprise is “an economic unit encompassing self-employment and employing up to ten employees, including family members, whether paid or not” (International Labour Organization, 1999). There are two dimensions that must be considered when discussing these differences: the entrepreneur’s motivation and the entrepreneur’s environment (Yalcin and Kapu, 2008). Academic literature suggest that typical motivational factors include: need for achievement (McClelland, 1961), desire to earn more money (Benzing et al., 2005), willingness to take risks (Greenberger and Sexton, 1988), desire for a job that is challenging and personally fulfilling (Choo and Wong, 2006), and imitation of friends and family who are also entrepreneurs (Robichaud et al., 2001). In the context of Vietnam, financial gain (Benzing et al., 2005) as well as challenge and achievement are key motivators for entrepreneurs...
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