In his well-received book, Jamaican Entrepreneurship: A review of the characteristics, traits and ideas of some of the island’s most accomplished entrepreneurs, Laman reveals the secrets behind entrepreneurial success and outlines how a small developing country can leverage them to ignite a struggling economy.
“For my doctorate,” he notes, “I conducted a qualitative multiple case study to understand the success of 15 Jamaican entrepreneurs from various industries, including finance, food production, and hotel ownership.” The study examined the personal factors underlying each entrepreneur’s success story. The data obtained from interviews was supplemented by conversations with family members, data from media reports, documents and other publications.
The study shows that entrepreneurship takes on two different forms in a low-income country like Jamaica. The first is conventional “opportunity” entrepreneurship: an entrepreneur identifies and pursues a business opportunity to exploit. The second is “necessity” entrepreneurship, which is prevalent in Jamaica, where most entrepreneurs set up businesses to survive. “Job opportunities are scarce,” notes Laman. “It is through their businesses that many people earn a living to support themselves and their families. The good news is that in Jamaica, all kids are exposed to the possibility of setting up their own businesses.”
Laman’s study offers a number of interesting findings, including: 100% of his subjects were raised in environments where their family ran a business; 100% identified insights and encouragement from individuals that set them on the path to building a business (Laman calls this “social capital.”); education achievement was not a big predictor of success: some subjects had university educations, most did not; 100% overcame near-crippling adversity in setting up their businesses.
Given the substantial exposure Jamaican kids have to running businesses, Laman believes that with proper encouragement and guidance, “Jamaica can crank out top-rated entrepreneurs, just as they produce world-class athletes. It can happen.”
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SOURCE University of Management and Technology
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