Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship

НазваниеAsbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship
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There is little debate concerning the position that Native Americans hold within the list of minority entrepreneurial start ups in the United States each year. Native Americans have and continue to hold the dubious honor of being the least likely minority in the United States to enter into the realm of small business ownership (2002 Economic Census). While there have been a number of studies conducted during the last two decades to identify the problems and potential solutions for this epidemic, only modest improvements have been made and those minor advances have not lead Native Americans out of the entrepreneurial basement (American Indian and Alaskan Native Owned Firms, 2002).

Of special interest are the decades of programs developed and implemented by almost every federal agency within the US Government. Each new program was touted as the solution to staggering unemployment and low business development so long associated with Native American lands but each has yielded very little fruit.

Many of these recent studies have pointed to business related barriers that Native American’s must overcome before embracing the venture creation process (The Native American Entrepreneurship Report, 2002). Thus the solutions that have stemmed from many of those studies have been directed at a reduction or elimination of operational and traditional business development barriers. This study theorizes that it is culture not business barriers that hold the key to new venture creation potential within the Native American community. This study will identify cultural issues that present as big an obstacle to new venture creation as any business characteristic currently identified. We propose that there are cultural characteristics, some naturally evolving and some imposed through European contact, which must be addressed before Native Americans can embrace small business ownership at a level consistent with other races. Federally mandated and self developed programs have done little to significantly increase entrepreneurship activities for Native Americans and perhaps cultural, not business, barriers are a more reasonable explanation for low Native American entrepreneurial activities.

Native Americans in South Dakota were recently interviewed as part of a study on entrepreneurship and the excerpt below provides support of our contention that bicultural individuals, especially Native Americans, must engage in frame switching as part of their decision on new venture creation.

Interviews with community members revealed that many aspiring entrepreneurs question their entrepreneurial identity—defined as the cultural appropriateness of being an entrepreneur and one’s perceived entrepreneurial abilities. There was an underlying theme that excessive personal prosperity conflicts with an overall sense of Lakota cultural identity—characterized by the basic principle of “The honor of one is the honor of all.” Entrepreneurs noted that they experience both internal and community pressures to consider the needs of the general community as they strive to achieve personal success. They expressed that defining economic success as maximizing financial benefit to themselves over benefit to the community could result in losing their cultural identity—they would be made to feel that they are no longer Indian. This attitude can leave a gap when aspiring entrepreneurs try to reconcile personal and economic progress with their cultural identity and relationship to the larger community (Native Entrepreneurship Nationwide & in South Dakota 2006).

Identifying the impact that culture plays on the new venture creation decision for Native Americans will be the first step in formulation of viable solutions. This project will seek to answer a number of questions that to this point have not been addressed for the Native American community as a whole.


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Bock, Tonia (2006), “A Consideration of Culture in Moral Theme Comprehension: Comparing Native and European American Students,” Journal of Moral Education, 35 (March), 71-87.

Busenitz, Lowell W. and Chung-Ming Lau (1997), “A Cross-Cultural Cognitive Model of New Venture Creation,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Summer 1996,25-39.

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Corporation for Economic Development, Native Entrepreneurship Nationwide & in South Dakota, (2006).

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Galbraith, Craig S., Carlos Rodriquez and Curt S. Stiles (2006)“False Myths and Indigenous Entrepreneurial Strategies,” Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 19(1): 1-20.

Garsombke, Diane J. and Thomas W. Garsombke (2000), Non-Traditional vs. Traditional Entrepreneurs: Emergence of a Native American Comparative Profile of Characteristics and Barriers,” Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, 6(1): 93-100. [On-line].
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Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship iconJ. International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, Vol. 3, No. 1/2, 2006

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship iconSmall business innovation research

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship icon11. b small business technology transfer (sttr)

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship icon11. 2 Small Business Innovation Research (sbir)

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship iconSmall Business Innovation Research (sbir) 10. 3

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship icon12. b small business technology transfer (sttr)

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship icon12. 1 Small Business Innovation Research (sbir)

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship iconSmall Business Innovation Research (sbir) 10. 3

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship iconArmy 11. 2 Small Business Innovation Research (sbir)

Asbe association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship iconNavy 12. 3 Small Business Innovation Research (sbir)

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