Re-reading entrepreneurship in the hidden economy: commercial or social entrepreneurs?
by Colin C. Williams; Sara Nadin
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business (IJESB), Vol. 14, No. 4, 2011

Abstract: Since the turn of the millennium, a small but growing stream of the entrepreneurship literature has drawn attention to how a large proportion of entrepreneurs start-up their enterprises operating in the hidden economy on a wholly or partially off-the-books basis. This paper evaluates critically the assumption that these hidden entrepreneurs are engaged in commercial entrepreneurship. Reporting evidence from a 2002-2003 survey involving interviews with 28 early-stage entrepreneurs operating in the hidden economy in English rural localities, the finding is that hidden entrepreneurs range from rational economic actors pursuing a purely commercial goal through to purely social entrepreneurs pursuing solely social logics, with the majority somewhere in-between combining both commercial and social goals. The outcome is a call to begin mapping the heterogeneous logics of hidden entrepreneurs in different contexts.

Online publication date: Tue, 01-Nov-2011

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