How does enterprise assistance support Māori entrepreneurs? An identity approach

Indigenous entrepreneurs represent a growing segment of the business community in many countries, but face sometimes stark challenges in starting and running enterprises. The success of indigenous entrepreneurs matters because they draw upon their indigeneity as sources of inspiration and innovation, contribute to the collective wellbeing of indigenous peoples, and some represent world class exemplars of sustainable ways of doing business. While enterprise assistance for entrepreneurs is widely accepted as a worthwhile use of public funds few guidelines exist to help policy makers and providers understand the needs of indigenous entrepreneurs and how best to respond. In this paper, we use the theoretical lens of entrepreneurial identity to provide insight into this challenging context. Taking an identity perspective may enable us to tease out how identifying as a Māori entrepreneur can enable and also hinder change in this community context. In doing so we lay foundations for future empirical work.

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