Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
Abstracts > Abstract Details JDE

Abstract Details

Vol. Volume 17 Number 3 September/2012

A number of solutions have been suggested for overcoming the considerable and entrenched economic and social disadvantage indigenous Australians face, including the encouragement to gain employment in the mainstream economy and to become entrepreneurs. Governments of all persuasions have implemented policies to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship; however, most appear to have had little success. To support and promote indigenous entrepreneurship effectively, it is important to identify the factors that either promote or hinder entrepreneurial endeavors. This paper reports on a study that used a qualitative research approach guided by a social constructivist paradigm to examine the experiences of Indigenous entrepreneurs in Northern New South Wales, Australia. The study results indicated that participants were found to possess characteristics of confidence, strong self-determination and ambition, and a desire to achieve. The role and influence of spouses, extended family and other role models were important determinants of entrepreneurial success, as were access to financial capital and established business networks. Above average education levels, prior industry experience and the assistance of mentors were also found to positively influence success. Lacking access to financial capital was a major hindrance. Participants also found government assistance programs confusing, unwieldy and difficult to access. Other hindrances included the presence of racism and discrimination; and difficulties reconciling business needs with the requests and needs of family, culture and community.

Keywords: Economic development, entrepreneurship, indigenous, aboriginal, Australian, minority