Toward a Theory of Indigenous Entrepreneurship
20 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 4, 2004
Indigenous populations throughout the world suffer from chronic poverty, lower education levels, and poor health. The 'second wave' of indigenous development, after direct economic assistance from outside, lies in indigenous efforts to rebuild their 'nations' and improve their lot through entrepreneurial enterprise. This paper suggests that there is a distinguishable kind of activity appropriately called 'indigenous entrepreneurship'. We believe that entrepreneurship among the indigenous-approximately 300 million strong worldwide-has a rich potential for rebuilding indigenous communities.
We begin by defining the indigenous population and noting some general facts about their numbers and distribution. In an effort to discern the potential for economic development on indigenous peoples' own terms, we then explore three frameworks for understanding efforts at development, including indigenous development: modernisation theory, dependency theory and (at somewhat greater length) regulation theory. After distinguishing 'indigenous' from 'ethnic' entrepreneurship, we conclude by identifying a number of lead questions that present themselves at the outset of an enquiry into the nature of indigenous entrepreneurship.
Keywords: Indigenous entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, indigenous, development
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation