Is Informal Sector Entrepreneurship Necessity- or Opportunity-driven? Some Lessons from Urban Brazil

Colin C. Williams, Youssef Youssef


The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically the widely-held assumption that entrepreneurs operating in the informal sector in developing nations are largely necessity-driven entrepreneurs, pushed into this entrepreneurial endeavour as a survival strategy in the absence of alternatives. Reporting an extensive 2003 survey conducted in Brazilian urban areas of informal sector entrepreneurs operating small businesses with less then five employees, the finding is that under half of the surveyed entrepreneurs are driven out of necessity into entrepreneurial endeavour in the informal economy. The outcome is a call to recognize the prevalence of opportunity-drivers amongst entrepreneurs operating in the informal economy and to reposition informal sector entrepreneurs more centre-stage in discussions of entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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