Does Necessity Entrepreneurship Really Alleviate Necessity? An Abductive Study

Research output: Working paperAcademic


Using an abductive approach, in this paper we explore necessity entrepreneurship (NE) in a marginalized context. Analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data collected from the world’s largest refugee camp – Kutupalong, Bangladesh, we suggest that NE is a multifaceted construct, and that it is not only motivated by immediate existential needs but also by higher-level needs like social participation, securing a future, and developing a valued identity in a community. In contrast to popular belief, we find that not anyone can become a necessity entrepreneur. It requires a special mindset, resources, and some social position to start a business, no matter how trivial it is. Necessity entrepreneurs allocate their income in alleviating multiple necessities; they do not always follow the hierarchical needs alleviation process as implicitly assumed in existing theories. We present evidence that NE pays off quite well, even in an extreme context such as in the Kutupalong refugee camp.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


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