Malama Solomona presents at Samoa II Conference on Entrepreneurship and Vanuatu (July 2011)
Exploring Entrepreneurship Policy in a Pacific Context: The Case of Vanuatu
Malama Solomona , Unitech Institute of Technology, NZ
Robert Davis, Unitec Institute of Technology, NZ
In 2010, data was collected to explore entrepreneurship in a Pacific context. The preliminary conceptual model is based on the triangulation of findings from the National Expert Survey (NES) and the Adult Population Survey (APS) components of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). For the purposes of NES, 36 national experts were interviewed in order to understand the factors that constrain and promote entrepreneurial activity. The APS analyzed the responses of 1122 household members across Vanuatu regarding their actual experiences and perceptions of entrepreneurial activity. Our analysis uses grounded theory in tandem with this model because of the lack of tested theory regarding entrepreneurship in the Pacific. The NES data was initially used in the analysis, and the triangulated confirmatory findings from the APS were used once the emergent propositions had become clear. The key themes discussed relate to: (1) business definition, (2) motivations, (3) barriers, (4) presence of the government, (5) women and entrepreneurship, (6) social entrepreneurs, (7) expats vs. Ni-Vans vs. naturalized Ni-Vans, (8) the influence of Asian entrepreneurs, (9) sustainable development vs. value-adding, and (10) nationalism and the social thread. The research implications and limitations are discussed.
The underlying aim of this paper is to explore entrepreneurial behaviour in Vanuatu. Our aspiration is to start the theory development process regarding the proposition that, in the Pacific, there is a specific model of entrepreneurship. We believe that this research could have wider implications for the Pacific and become a model of entrepreneurial behaviour, one that builds on traditional conceptualizations such as the GEM project. This desire is important because it is widely understood and accepted that entrepreneurship raises the living standards of developing and developed countries (Cahn, 2008; Ayyagari, Beck and Demirgue-Kunt, 2003) by creating small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) that contribute economically to their owners, the collectives and society. However, there is no guarantee that entrepreneurship will enhance the economic development of a nation (Autio, Kronlund & Kovalaines, 2007). Despite the existent knowledge about the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic development, there is a dearth of evidence from the Pacific region (Saffu, 2003; Yusuf, 1995). Since Yusuf (1995), few studies have been completed. Yusuf (1998) explored SME’s in six developing countries in the South Pacific and concluded that the key issues facing entrepreneurs in the Pacific included: finance, deficient industry and market information, poor business knowledge and planning skills, infrastructure barriers, and the impact of culture on entrepreneurship. Cahn (2008) supports these findings in an exploration of the synergy and tensions in the relationship between fa’aSamoa and micro-entrepreneurial activity. Saffu (2003) agrees, arguing that Pacific island entrepreneurs are different from Western entrepreneurs. Finally, the paper looks at implications for researchers conducting studies in the Pacific. An emphasis is placed on the need for in-depth planning, organisational and budgeting considerations due to different constraints and issues that exist in each context. Of significance, the authors reflect on the work completed prior to, during and post data collection in Vanuatu highlighting key areas of interest for new and emerging researchers and practitioners conducting studies in the Pacific region.
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