Title: Entrepreneurship and indigenous identity: a study of identity work by indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia

Authors: Bryan Gallagher; Thomas B. Lawrence

Addresses: Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, 500 Granville Street Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C1W6, Canada. ' Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, 500 Granville Street Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C1W6, Canada

Abstract: Recent literature on indigenous entrepreneurship has called for the exploration of the relationship between indigenous culture and entrepreneurship as well as the relationship between indigenous identity and entrepreneurship. In this study, we explore how being an entrepreneur effects the identities of Canadian indigenous people. To do so, we interviewed thirty urban British Columbian indigenous entrepreneurs. Drawing on an identity work lens, we illuminate the narratives that entrepreneurs leverage and create during interviews in their attempt to create a coherent and meaningful concept of themselves. Counter to the current focus in the indigenous entrepreneurship literature which suggests indigenous entrepreneurs may struggle to maintain their indigenous culture and identity while being an entrepreneur, our study suggests that being an entrepreneur does not necessarily weaken, and in fact can strengthen, the connection indigenous entrepreneurs have to their identities as indigenous people.

Keywords: indigenous entrepreneurship; first nation entrepreneurship; aboriginal entrepreneurship; indigenous identities; indigenous economic development; identity work; identity talk; British Columbia; Canada; indigenous entrepreneurs; indigenous cultures; indigenous peoples; urban entrepreneurs; leveraged narratives; created narratives; coherent concepts; meaningful concepts; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2012.050162

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.17 No.4, pp.395 - 414

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 31 Oct 2012 *

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