This paper aims to contribute to indigenous entrepreneurship theory by identifying what constitutes an indigenous enterprise, focussing on Aotearoa New Zealand as a case.
This paper combines policy (quantitative survey) and academic research (qualitative interviews) to answer the same question, what is an indigenous enterprise in Aotearoa New Zealand?
The authors found a degree of consistency as to what counts as an indigenous enterprise in the literature (e.g., identity, ownership, values), yet a consensus on a definition of Maori business remains elusive. They also found that an understanding of the indigenous economy and indigenous entrepreneurial policy are impeded because of definitional uncertainties. The authors propose a definition of Maori business which accounts for indigenous ownership, identity, values and well-being.
The main limitation is that the literature and research use different definitions of indigenous enterprise, constraining comparative analysis. The next step is to evaluate our definition as a basis for quantifying the population of indigenous enterprises in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The research assists indigenous entrepreneurs to identify, measure and account for their contribution to indigenous self-determination and sustainable development.
This research has the potential to reconceptualise indigenous enterprise as a distinct and legitimate alternative institutional theory of the firm.
The research challenges assumptions and knowledge of entrepreneurship policy and practice generally and the understanding of what is the nature and extent of an indigenous firm.
Mika, J.P., Fahey, N. and Bensemann, J. (2019), "What counts as an indigenous enterprise? Evidence from Aotearoa New Zealand", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 372-390. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-12-2018-0102
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