What is it about?

Since the turn of the millennium, a small but growing stream of the entrepreneurship literature has drawn attention to how a large proportion of entrepreneurs start-up their enterprises operating in the hidden economy on a wholly or partially off-the-books basis. This paper evaluates critically the assumption that these hidden entrepreneurs are engaged in commercial entrepreneurship.

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Why is it important?

Reporting evidence from a 2002–2003 survey involving interviews with 28 early-stage entrepreneurs operating in the hidden economy in English rural localities, the finding is that hidden entrepreneurs range from rational economic actors pursuing a purely commercial goal through to purely social entrepreneurs pursuing solely social logics, with the majority somewhere in-between combining both commercial and social goals. The outcome is a call to begin mapping the heterogeneous logics of hidden entrepreneurs in different contexts.


Introduces idea that entrepreneurs operating in the informal economy are not always motivated purely by the desire to make money.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Re-reading entrepreneurship in the hidden economy: commercial or social entrepreneurs?, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, January 2011, Inderscience Publishers, DOI: 10.1504/ijesb.2011.043469.
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