What is it about?

This paper evaluates critically the ideologically driven representation of the entrepreneur as a heroic figurehead of capitalism pursuing for-profit entrepreneurship in the formal commercial economy. To do this, two separate streams of literature are brought together, which highlight how many entrepreneurs operate in the informal economy and how many others are social entrepreneurs.

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Why is it important?

Reporting a 2006 survey of the lived practices of entrepreneurship involving interviews with 120 entrepreneurs in a rural West of England locality in the UK, formal sector for-profit entrepreneurship is shown to be a minority practice. Most entrepreneurs are revealed to operate wholly or partially in the informal economy and to varying extents adopt social goals, including those engaged in a newly identified form of entrepreneurship so far missed by the entrepreneurship literature, namely social entrepreneurship in the informal economy. This reveals the need to de-link entrepreneurship from the formal commercial economy.


The resultant outcome is to replace the dominant representation of the entrepreneur as a heroic figurehead of capitalism with a rerepresentation of the entrepreneur that recognizes the multifarious lived practices of entrepreneurship and therefore demonstrates the feasibility of imagining and enacting alternative futures beyond capitalist hegemony.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Beyond the entrepreneur as a heroic figurehead of capitalism: re-representing the lived practices of entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, September 2013, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/08985626.2013.814715.
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