Which came first, the chicken or the egg?: Exploring the relationship between entrepreneurship and resilience among the Boruca Indians of Costa Rica

This paper aims to explore the relationship between entrepreneurship and resilience in an indigenous context. The overarching research questions are: What are the mechanisms that link entrepreneurial thought and action to resilience in a marginalized context? How can entrepreneurial thought and actions lead to building economic, community and cultural resilience? Design/methodology/approach: An exploratory-naturalistic case study methodology was used to examine the entrepreneurial journey of the Boruca. Data were collected from in-depth semi-structured and unstructured interviews among 10 informants over a five-year period. Constant comparative method was used to analyze the data. Findings: Due to the need to survive, the Boruca engaged in entrepreneurial thought and action, which, in turn, led to the development of community, cultural and economic resilience. The authors developed a conceptual model to illustrate how individual resiliency gained through entrepreneurial thought and action led to community, cultural and economic resiliency of the Boruca. Research limitations/implications: This paper examines the entrepreneurial journey of one of the eight indigenous tribes of Costa Rica. Future research should expand their sample to include the other indigenous contexts. Practical implications: From a practical standpoint, this paper suggests the need for entrepreneurial training among indigenous businesses as a key factor in developing resiliency. This is applicable for non-profit, for-profit and public organizations interested in preserving world ethnic cultures and empowering indigenous people. Social implications: Gaining deeper and richer insights into the linkages of resilience and entrepreneurial success is important for supporting efforts of those seeking to forge pathways out of poverty. Originality/value: This paper suggests a different view of the relationship between resilience and entrepreneurship when the context is outside of the resource-rich context of the developed world.

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