GPPE Webinar: Do Ventures of the Poor Matter?


Location: Virtual

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Is venture creation by the poor something we should encourage? Is entrepreneurship actually a viable pathway out of poverty? Do we really need another cleaning business, catering firm, or landscaping company? Are these ventures sustainable? Are the risks worth the rewards? What about other externalities or spillovers? In addressing such questions, there are those (e.g., Shane, 2009) who argue not only that these ventures largely do not matter, but that the only ventures in which societies should invest are scalable, aggressive growth ventures such as Uber, SpaceX, or the next medical technology company. These observers would suggest the ventures of the poor are inefficient, produce few jobs, operate in saturated markets that are already hyper-competitive, produce little wealth, and generate little in the way of innovation. Others (e.g., Bruton, Ketchen and Ireland, 2013; Morris and Tucker, 2001) suggest the ventures of the poor fill important market niches, generate tax revenue, serve as a vehicle for human development, and generate much-needed income, among other benefits. This session features perspectives from four leading experts in Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the U.S.