Widespread Socio-Economic Consequences

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T HE ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY: Frederik Claeyé, Yosra Boughattas,
and Erno T. Tornikoski
CITED FROM: https://www.mdpi.com/305908

150 Million People Are Projected to Fall into Abject Poverty

It is widely acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread socio-economic consequences (Das et al. 2022). As a result, almost 150 million people are projected to fall into abject poverty. The resulting increases in poverty are largely concentrated in the already fragile regions of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with impacts to be felt harder in urban rather than in rural areas (Laborde et al. 2021). Researchers have increasingly turned their attention to the emancipatory power of entrepreneurship (Rindova et al. 2009) and how it may be a mechanism for poverty alleviation (Sutter et al. 2019; Manzoor et al. 2019; Trivedi and Petkova 2021). The underlying argument is that through identifying and acting on opportunities, entrepreneurs are catalysts for structural change and institutional evolution (Naudé 2014). This line of thought is particularly relevant for social entrepreneurship and base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) approaches as mechanisms for addressing poverty and inequality (Murphy and Coombes 2009; Cañeque and Hart 2017; Périac et al. 2018). Increasingly, BoP strategies focus on co-creating value with the poor and empowering them to create their own enterprises (Simanis and Hart 2008). Similarly, social entrepreneurs are typically seen as agents of change (Dees 1998), who—drawing on a business logic—try to ‘change the system’ (Newey 2018) by implementing novel and entrepreneurial solutions to address social ills. (Murphy et al. forthcoming; Saebi et al. 2019).

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Investigating Research Questions

A small but growing literature is budding at the intersection of social entrepreneurship and BoP strategies (Agarwal et al. 2018; Goyal et al. 2017; Claeyé et al. 2020). While there have been some attempts at investigating and theorizing entrepreneurial action among disadvantaged communities, our understanding of the processes contributing to the formation of social entrepreneurial intention at the BoP remain limited. We contribute to this line of research by investigating the following research question: How do social entrepreneurial intentions emerge at the base of the pyramid?

We investigate this question empirically by drawing on a qualitatively grounded approach. We collected data in Southeast Asia using an entrepreneurship program developed by a local NGO as our research setting. The youths at the BoP participating in our study (i.e., beneficiaries) had no prior intention to create their own social enterprise before joining the program. The contribution of our study lies in proposing a grounded cognitive model of the social entrepreneurial intention of these youths at the base of the pyramid. To this end, our empirical findings highlight the role of self-confidence, perceived self-efficacy, and social ascension beliefs as important drivers in understanding the formation of social entrepreneurial intention at the BoP. At a practical level, our study highlights the importance of social support: besides developing entrepreneurship specific knowledge, support mechanisms should also pay attention to the development of different self-related beliefs of youths to enable the formation of social entrepreneurial intention at the BoP.

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I started my educational career in 1997 at Millville Middle School. As an educator, I learned that research is fundamental to understanding how to educate and prepare a generation for the daunting future they will inherit.

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