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Jamaican micro/small entrepreneurs: a comparative assessment of their motivations and problems

Mauvalyn Manzia Bowen (Department of Business and Economics, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, USA)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 2 June 2021

Issue publication date: 12 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to assess the motivations and challenges faced by three groups of micro and small entrepreneurs in Jamaica, as well as factors that might contribute to their success. Success was operationally defined in the study as profit.


Data from a survey of 192 micro and small entrepreneurs in the urban informal sector of Jamaica were used in the study. The design tracked a descriptive survey approach with multivariate analysis. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the data with some open-ended flexible questions. The structured questionnaires with Likert-type items were used to increase the reliability and the validity of the responses obtained. The open-ended questions were used to gain a better understanding of the background and experience of the respondents and to allow for diverse reactions.


Results showed that entrepreneurs are motivated by opportunities to create a job for themselves, to increase their income, to be their own boss and control their own destiny, to gain personal security, to acquire personal wealth and build equity for their retirement. Factors that are perceived critical for their success include working hard, displaying good customer service skills, increase in sales, attracting new customers and selling quality goods and services at competitive prices. Major business problems were identified as weak economy, low sales volume, lack of adequate capital, poor infrastructure, crime and violence and too much competition.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this research may lack generalizability because of the research approach, design and methodology.

Practical implications

Implications for policymakers, practice of entrepreneurship in Jamaica as well as information for the academic and research institutions are presented in the paper.


There are numerous management and economic issues that may be addressed by local and regional initiatives through this study. The government, other policy makers, profit and not-profit organizations may therefore need to look more closely at entrepreneurial education and training, advertising and promotion expertise, technology and other infrastructural development to better assist micro and small entrepreneurs. Additionally, leveraging the local academic, scientific and research base through the creation of technology transfer offices will be critical to entrepreneurial success.



Bowen, M.M. (2021), "Jamaican micro/small entrepreneurs: a comparative assessment of their motivations and problems", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 122-138.



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