Necessity Entrepreneurs
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Necessity Entrepreneurs

Microenterprise Education and Economic Development

Edited by Jeremi Brewer and Stephen W. Gibson

Necessity entrepreneurs, in developing countries, are individuals who start small enterprises out of necessity. While they range from street sellers to educated hopefuls with little access to formal employment, the one thing that unites them is the need to survive. This volume is the first-known compilation of theories contributed by international scholars who have worked together to establish a theory-based discourse on necessity entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise education, and long-term economic development.
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Chapter 1: Defining and classifying necessity entrepreneurs: a review of the literature

Jeremi Brewer


The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) coined the terms 'necessity entrepreneurship' and 'necessity entrepreneur,' in 2001 (Block and Wagner, 2010). This chapter aims to demonstrate how the concept of 'necessity entrepreneurship' has been referred to by many individuals, but also how the term itself has yet to be fully integrated into the fields of entrepreneurship education, development, and poverty alleviation. Sternberg and Wennekers (2005) took the concept of necessity entrepreneurship a step further by explaining that there exist two types of entrepreneurs around the world: In an effort to clarify the difference between the two types of entrepreneurs doing business, GEM categorized opportunity entrepreneurs and necessity entrepreneurs into two groups based on the motivation of the start-up. Opportunity entrepreneurs are viewed as entrepreneurs who start a business in order to pursue an opportunity, while necessity entrepreneurship is more need-based. (p. 161)

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