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Is Cuba's emerging entrepreneurial economy at the crossroads?

Richard C. Becherer (College of Business, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Marilyn M. Helms (School of Business, Dalton State College, Dalton, Georgia, USA)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




The Caribbean Island of Cuba, only 90 miles from the US mainland, has remained one of the world's few examples of a centralized communist economy since Fidel Castro overthrew the government in 1959. The country has declined in recent years, most significantly since the fall of Cuba's key trading partner and ally, the former Soviet Union. Recently, under the direction of Fidel's brother, Raúl Castro, the island appears to be slowly loosening some restrictions and promoting new venture creation by allowing more private enterprises and forcing laid‐off state employees to consider entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether entrepreneurship will be the answer to improving Cuba's economy.


Using Graham's framework of conditions necessary for encouraging entrepreneurship, Cuba is examined with actual observations by the authors after a July 2010 State Department‐sanctioned research trip to observe entrepreneurship within the centralized economy.


Further enhancements to encourage new venture creation in Cuba are identified, along with areas for future research on new venture creation.


The value of this research lies in the fact that there are many paths to create an entrepreneurial economy in an emerging market. Cuba represents a nascent entrepreneurial economy with many barriers to overcome based upon its legacy of communism. The country and market has seldom been examined and there is a dearth of literature on Cuba and other countries trying to move immediately from communism to capitalism when their economy is in crisis.



Becherer, R.C. and Helms, M.M. (2011), "Is Cuba's emerging entrepreneurial economy at the crossroads?", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 369-381.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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