Title: Self-employment and the chicle trade: the case of the Lebanese minority in the Cayo district of Belize

Authors: Carel Roessingh; Karim Darwish

Addresses: Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Department of Organization Science, De Boelelaan 1081, Room N-312, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ' Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Department of Organization Science, De Boelelaan 1081, Room N-312, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: Belize is a relative small country in Central America, which is enclosed by Mexico in the north and by Guatemala in the west and south. The country has a multi-ethnic population consisting of, amongst others, Mestizos, Creoles, Garinagu, Maya's, Mennonites, Chinese and East Indian. One of the ethnic minorities, which has a strong economic position in Belize, is the Lebanese community. When the Lebanese first arrived in Belize in the early 1900s Belize was a prosperous British colony. Lebanese came to Belize because they wanted to improve their economic situation. The word had reached them that Belize was a good and calm country where they could succeed and readily engage in business. The first immigrants came through Mexico which had a large Lebanese community. The focus of this article is on the Lebanese migration to Belize and how the Lebanese used self-employment to become successful entrepreneurs in Belize.

Keywords: Belize; Central America; ethnic minorities; self-employment; entrepreneurial development; Lebanon; ethnic groups; chicle extraction; chewing gum; latex; sapodilla; trees; agriculture; Cayo District; Mexico; Guatemala; multi-ethnic populations; Garifuna people; Mestizo people; Creole people; Garinagu people; Maya people; Mennonites; Chinese people; East Indian people; Mennonite congregations; Protestants; religious groups; Lebanese communities; British colonies; UK; United Kingdom; economic improvement; immigrants; immigration; migration; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; developing nations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2012.048648

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.17 No.1, pp.1 - 16

Available online: 09 Aug 2012 *

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