Building self-determination of disadvantaged groups: insights from an entrepreneurship focused program for refugees
This paper examines how entrepreneurship focused programs build capacities for disadvantaged groups to pursue more dignified lives. The struggles of disadvantaged entrepreneurs against pronounced structural constraints are well documented, but less is known about how targeted programs of entrepreneurship focused support change the status quo for disadvantaged communities.
The paper is grounded in a mainly inductive, interpretive study and explores the work of an entrepreneurship focused program targeted at refugee participants. The paper reports on intensive fieldwork and in-depth interviews with 23 program participants in London, UK.
The empirical sections elaborate three key mechanisms supporting greater self-determination and better opportunities: building entrepreneurial intention; building contextual legitimacy and building proximal ties. These mechanisms empower disadvantaged groups to pursue a wide variety of meaningful goals, including but not limited to starting a business.
This paper draws attention to problems of over-emphasizing the disadvantaged entrepreneurs’ agency. It uses the vocabulary of Self Determination Theory and offers a psychosocial perspective of the consequences of disadvantage and the potential for entrepreneurship focused programs to build key capacities and improve precarious lives.
- Business and Economics
Published inInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© Emerald Publishing Limited
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