Indigenous entrepreneurship, culture and micro-enterprise in the Pacific Islands: Case studies from Samoa

  • M. Cahn (2008). Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 1-18
  • Abstract: In indigenous societies throughout the world 'business' and economic activities are embedded in cultural and social aspects, creating unique styles of entrepreneurship, which are often community-orientated, and with diverse livelihood outcomes. In the Pacific Island country of Samoa, the Samoan way of life and culture (fa'aSamoa) is intricately interwoven with rural entrepreneurial activity. This paper explores the relationships between micro-enterprises and fa'aSamoa in rural communities of Samoa, and questions whether an 'indigenous' style of entrepreneurship enhances the success and sustainability of micro-enterprises. The qualitative research investigated two separate clusters of micro-entrepreneurs. In each of the case studies fa'aSamoa was interwoven with, and strongly influenced, the livelihood outcomes that the micro-entrepreneurs sought, the characteristics of the micro-enterprise, the risks and vulnerability the micro-entrepreneurs faced, the way in which the micro-entrepreneurs in each of the clusters worked together, and the success and sustainability of the micro-enterprises. The research demonstrated that where fa'aSamoa blended successfully with the micro-entrepreneurial activity, an 'indigenous' form of enterprise had developed, and the success and sustainability of the micro-enterprise was enhanced. On the other hand, the research showed that tensions between fa'aSamoa and introduced business systems of the micro-enterprise could jeopardize micro-enterprise success and sustainability.
  • Theme: Community, Growth and performance
  • Keywords: Indigenous entrepreneurship, Micro-enterprise, Pacific, Samoa, Sustainable livelihoods, cultural influence, entrepreneur, indigenous population, microenterprise, rural society, sustainability, Pacific islands, Pacific Ocean, Polynesia
  • Reference type: Journal Article
  • Geographic location: Samoa, Oceania, Global North
  • Quality:
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