Throughout Macedonia, beekeeping is becoming popular regardless of ethnicity. Studying ethnicity, the purpose of this paper is to determine what beekeepers in Macedonia thought in their own words about their beekeeping entrepreneurship. The objective is to identify whether motivations of ethnic Albanian beekeepers in Macedonia were the same or different compared to those of ethnic Macedonians in the same country, and if different, how.
To accomplish this objective, in-depth interviews were conducted with 40 beekeepers in Macedonia. A total of 29 interviews were conducted face-to-face and the other 11 by phone. The first set of interviews took place between December 2016 and February 2017, followed by more interviews in June 2017. In total, 27 respondents said they were ethnic Albanians, and 13 identified themselves as ethnic Macedonians. Also, ten respondents were women. While eight were full-time beekeepers, 32 were part-time beekeepers.
The results indicated that beekeeping businesses play a significant role in the transition economy of Macedonia. Beekeeping provides additional earnings that support rural families and keeps them financially stable. The majority of both Albanians and Macedonians understood that beekeeping on a part-time job basis provided a needed supplement to their income. Some part-time beekeepers are also working as auto-mechanics, locksmiths, medical doctors, restaurant/cafeteria owners, and tailors. A few in the sample were retired from their jobs or full-time beekeepers. An important difference between ethnic Albanian beekeepers and ethnic Macedonians in Macedonia is that the majority of ethnic Albanian participants see beekeeping as following in “my father’s footsteps”, while most Macedonians were motivated by the perceived opportunity of having a good business.
Limitations of the research are twofold. First, financial data of family beekeeping are not available, which would be useful in determining the contribution made to economic development. It is common, especially in transition economies such as the western Balkans, that financial results are very sensitive to their owners. Second, unavailable databases for beekeepers make any quantitative approach difficult, if not impossible, resulting in most research using the qualitative research approach.
This paper is one of the first to treat beekeeping as a form of artisan entrepreneurship, which also contributes to the understanding of family business. As in other countries, the important and operation of the family business among family members in Macedonia is passed from generation to generation. The results of this research revealed the value of networking, which was found to be very important to income. For beekeepers to develop, grow, and be branded in the community, networking is an important ingredient.
Ramadani, V., Hisrich, R.D., Dana, L.-P., Palalic, R. and Panthi, L. (2019), "Beekeeping as a family artisan entrepreneurship business", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 717-730. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-07-2017-0245
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