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No soy conformista: reassessing necessity and opportunity motivations for micro entrepreneurship in Lima, Peru

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Title: No soy conformista: reassessing necessity and opportunity motivations for micro entrepreneurship in Lima, Peru
Author(s): Duffy, Daniel
Advisor(s): Orta, Andrew
Department / Program: Latin American & Carib Studies
Discipline: Latin American Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): microenterprise entrepreneurship necessity opportunity Lima Peru
Abstract: Increasingly, in the field of entrepreneurial studies, venture creation is dichotomously conceived as an activity willfully undertaken to seize a business opportunity or reluctantly performed as a last resort in the face of a weak and/or inaccessible labor market. This schema purports that an entrepreneur’s disposition is fixed at the moment of business start-up, and is indicative of future performance. Opportunity types are more likely to reap substantial profits, expand, hire more workers, and ultimately contribute, on a macro-level, to higher rates of economic growth. Necessity types are subsistence-oriented, survival is the goal, and thus their contributions to national wealth are negligible. My findings, derived from open-ended, unstructured interviews with twenty-seven migrant micro entrepreneurs in Lima, Peru, complicate the “necessity-opportunity model”, and its implications. Participants’ narratives demonstrate that motivations co-exist, and tend to shift as firms and their founder’s develop; cultural and social dimensions are often just as influential as economic forces in inducing venture creation; human, social, and financial capital are the more relevant variables determining a firm’s growth potential. I also delve into entrepreneurial theory and use historical analysis to challenge the necessity-opportunity model’s theoretical foundations. I conclude by demonstrating how policy recommendations based in the dichotomy are misguided, and how they threaten to undermine the socio-economic advances made by Andean empresarios over the last two decades.
Issue Date: 2012-05-22
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/31152
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Daniel Duffy
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-05-22
Date Deposited: 2012-05
 

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