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Entrepreneurial influencers and influential entrepreneurs: two sides of the same coin

Nataly Guiñez-Cabrera (Department of Business Administration, Universidad del Bio-Bio – Sede Chillan, Chillán, Chile)
Claudio Aqueveque (Business School, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Peñalolén, Chile)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 28 October 2021

Issue publication date: 20 January 2022




Drawing on push and pull entrepreneurship theory, this research investigates how and why social media users become social media influencers (SMIs), a specific type of digital entrepreneur.


Adopting a phenomenological perspective and following a process approach, a total of 35 semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with SMIs of different ages, follower numbers and associated with diverse areas of expertise. Subsequently, via interpretative analysis of interviewees' narratives and reasons for becoming SMIs, relevant motivations and events were uncovered and described.


The findings showcase two types of SMIs: “Entrepreneurial Influencers” and “Influential Entrepreneurs”. Their motivations and the path they followed on their entrepreneurial efforts were also uncovered. Finally, based on these findings, a new entrepreneurial motivational driver is proposed.

Practical implications

Public entrepreneurial incentive policies should consider SMIs as a specific type of would-be entrepreneurs with some advantage in terms of prominence and reputation, which might help them to successfully initiate and consolidate traditional entrepreneurial activities.


This paper is among the first to examine SMIs from an entrepreneurial perspective, contributing to the nascent digital entrepreneurship literature.



Guiñez-Cabrera, N. and Aqueveque, C. (2022), "Entrepreneurial influencers and influential entrepreneurs: two sides of the same coin", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 231-254.



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