In this study, the authors develop in-depth understanding of how refugee entrepreneurs navigate institutional voids in market participation in Malaysia. The authors employ an inductive research design consistent with recent research investigating adversity and disadvantaged entrepreneurship. The findings of this study reveal that refugees adopted different, gendered approaches to navigate institutional voids in market participation. The women refugees in this study anchored towards safety by leveraging legitimacy of market intermediaries (e.g. social ventures and refugee support organisations) to gain protection for entrepreneurial activities and access markets while conducting their labour at home. The men refugees in this study engaged in harbouring – concealing entrepreneurial activities in the local community or under others’ identities to protect income-generating opportunities. The findings of this study thus provide nuance and demonstrate plurality in how refugee entrepreneurs navigate institutional voids, contributing towards more holistic understanding of refugee entrepreneurship, offering insights for development agencies, policy-makers, and other institutions on how to support refugees’ entrepreneurial activities.
This study was funded by grant AH/R005354/1.
Au, W.C., Drencheva, A. and Yew, J.L. (2022), "How do Refugee Entrepreneurs Navigate Institutional Voids? Insights from Malaysia
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