Entrepreneurship Institutions for Sustainable Enterprise: Comparison
Please note this is a comparison between Version 1 by Wilfred Ukpere and Version 2 by Rita Xu.

The emergence of entrepreneurship institutions, as a mechanism, is not only for sustainability, but access to micro-financing for entrepreneurs has also become pivotal owing to the heightened spate of economic degradation, growing poverty rates, and an upsurge in rural–urban migration, all currently occurring across the globe.

  • culture
  • development
  • entrepreneurship
  • institutions

1. Introduction

The pivotal aim of micro-financing has been to provide to fledgling entrepreneurs the required financial and logistic support, decision-making, and management skills that prod its development, expansion, and viability, thereby optimizing the populace’s living standards as well as their economic well-being [1][2][3][1,2,3]. Entrepreneurial endeavours are recognized as key contributors to economic growth and sustainable development [4]. Their critical role in job creation, economic advancement, income redistribution, and welfare is gaining momentum amongst scholars and practitioners. The term ‘entrepreneurship institution’ is used to describe the collection of entities set up to offer support structures through statutory approval to further its course of enabling the viability and value-added interest of entrepreneurs [5][6][5,6]. For most emerging economies, entrepreneurship institutions account for 67% of emerging markets’ economic survival [7]. A CBN [4] study revealed that non-agro SMEs are crucial contributors to the economy, accounting for 25% of overall employment generated. Many emerging economies have faced and/or are currently facing the challenge of creating and sustaining their economic growth and development since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued financial recession. These nations have remained noticeably undeveloped in spite of the endowment of huge natural and human capabilities [8]. These issues are most severe in rural settlements. As a result, a lack of proper infrastructure, poverty, unemployment, and the accompanying ripple effect of diminishing productivity in the agricultural sector have burgeoned. Ojo [8] further claimed that in a bid to curb the menaces and to improve their outputs, a majority of the impoverished populace has ventured into small businesses of various forms and sizes (entrepreneurship). Conversely, these entrepreneurial activities have been hampered by numerous issues, including a lack of venture capital [3] as well as poor micro-financing, an exponential rise in rural–urban migration, and the overarching state of economic destitution within these economies. Studies reveal that a majority of small-scale businesses and entrepreneurial financing comes from personal savings and microloans received from nuclear sources (family) [9]. Many entrepreneurs are unable to obtain capital from deposit money banks owing to a lack of substantial collateral [10]. Even with entrepreneurial education, training, and, in some cases, certifications, it is still not enough to provide required financing to budding entrepreneurs for start-ups or sustainability, as most governments’ microloan schemes have failed to foster the development, enhancement, and impetus of entrepreneurship and access to loans, especially for entrepreneurial ruralists. Pato [11] and Olaitan [12] described entrepreneurial ruralists and ruralism as individuals or entities that are formed in a rural location, which offer commodities made from local resources and technologies to markets outside of its locale. This concept is based on Schumpeter’s [13] concept of innovation, although it goes a step further by including a new characteristic, namely the rural location. Conversely, micro-financing refers to a set of incentives given in the form of credit, loans, or amenities to support economic transactions, or projects [14]. Despite its availability, there has been no concrete evidence of its utility. Wu and Yue [15] concurred, claiming that established measures have failed to meet their intentions owing to improper targeting, biased execution, and poor project evaluation and monitoring. Mwangi and Ouma [16] pointed out that micro-financing has not been able to reach entrepreneurs effectively owing to poor targeting, bias in granting the schemes, and, partly, the large concentration of entrepreneurs in urban areas compared with rural areas, making its reach problematic. Instead, some institutions that offer micro-financing are preoccupied with competing with deposit money banks whilst disregarding their primary aim of funding the start-ups or supporting rural entrepreneurs’ viability. Previously, entrepreneurship institutions were not held in high regard. Now, they have become one of the most promising mediums to promote the development of emerging economies [11][17][11,17]. The fact that there are significantly fewer prospects for entrepreneurs in rural areas is even more evident, consequently. From another perspective, the idea of entrepreneurship institutions implies that it is a type of endogenous support for entrepreneurs, which concerns the entrepreneurs’ economic–spatial dimension, thereby providing something extra to emerging economies [7]. Moreover, owing to globalisation processes that create new networks of global interconnectivity, entrepreneurial institutions stand to benefit from the wide variety of entrepreneurial opportunities emerging in these regions, including increased demand for recreational and rural amenities [18][19][18,19]. According to Woods and McDonagh [20], globalisation has a broad impact on the restructuring of less developed areas throughout Europe and, as a result, brings both opportunities and risks. Hence, the European Union (EU) views entrepreneurial institutions as a crucial element of its Europe 2020 plan to promote intelligent, sustainable, and equitable growth in Europe’s rural areas [11]. With notable exceptions, few studies have examined the benefits and repercussions of entrepreneurial institutions, particularly in developing countries and in spite of the topic’s growing attention and introduction of related surveys [1][17][1,17]. This study, thus, concentrated on how emerging economies’ entrepreneurship institutions can contribute to the viability of entrepreneurs and their ability to access financing. Young college graduates in the Aniocha-North Local Government Area of the Delta State in Nigeria have been encouraged to create endogenous, entrepreneurial, and innovative businesses in their community as a result of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) skills development initiative. The study adopted a case study methodology, drawing data from a questionnaire that was sent to the region’s most aspiring entrepreneurs, who are responsible for ensuring the survival of their businesses and initiatives. Currently, in Nigeria, endogenous companies and entrepreneurial institutions are introducing positive changes. With the creation of jobs for locals and increased national and international awareness of Aniocha-North, certain communities have experienced a revival of their socio-economic dynamics. Despite the focus on how important entrepreneurship is in fostering economic growth and other favourable developmental outcomes, the challenge of micro-financing, as it pertains to them and their business, has only recently garnered momentum and gained attention in the literature. This is because the context’s dialectics have not been able to focus on emerging economies and the entrepreneurs found in those areas [21][22][21,22]. Furthermore, there exists inconclusive literature that addresses the impact of entrepreneurship institutions on accessibility to micro-financing for sustainable enterprise from an emerging economy’s standpoint. This investigation, thus, seeks to redress this discourse.

2. The Entrepreneurial Culture Theory

The propositions of Thomas Cockran’s 1965 theory served as the foundation for this research. The Entrepreneurial Culture Theory offers that entrepreneurial motivations and activities are influenced by environmental norms, social structures, and customs, which include cultural values, role expectations, societal approval, and social etiquette, amongst others. Cockran (1965) avered that an entrepreneur’s behaviour is spurred by the environment in which they find themselves. In his assessment, the theory traced disparities in entrepreneurial drive, positing that they are anchored on the origins and affiliations of potential entrepreneurs in the societies and environments in which they are domiciled [23]. Most emerging economies are a perfect illustration of this assumption. Citizens engage in entrepreneurship with the rigour that drives the economic well-being of the nation, propelling it into a more advanced economy. Entrepreneurs have been seen to delve into vital economic industries whilst providing approximately 65.8% of their country’s economic demands, hence requiring all forms of support, either financial or infrastructural, in creating a conducive economic environment, where economic well-being and advancement are imperative. Thus, Hasan, Khan, and Nabi [24] concluded that the demands of an emerging economy and the socio-cultural environment are responsible for the business-oriented drive of entrepreneurship.

3. Entrepreneurship Institutions

In the face of limited human and financial resources, entrepreneurship institutions are now widely seen as a critical mechanism that fosters economic development and activities in remote areas, promoting rural and urban development [19][25][26][19,25,26]. Institutions organize social relationships through networks of broadly recognized social norms [27]. These are social constructs that evaluate the necessity, value, or merit of a specific action or idea. Institutions are, hence, enduring social practices that are universally accepted. According to modern institutional economics, institutions are the industry’s rules that either support or obstruct economic endeavours [5][28][5,28]. Institutionalism-related ideas in the social and management sciences gave rise to this notion, supported by empirical studies [29]. This field of study frequently overlaps with institutional entrepreneurship. There are disagreements over stakes, access, and resources in the institutional field, which is an organised system of social roles [5]. It comprises ambiguous regulatory and reputational constraints placed on a community of different organisations, including producers, clients, overseers, and consultants who engage in business activities. Since they are viewed as being socially produced within this context, participants and actors create a novel framework that connects the functioning of numerous institutional systems [30]. Combining concepts from institutional theory and entrepreneurship theory, the term “entrepreneurship institution” is used as a definition to describe organised participants who use support and approval for new institutional arrangements to further a value-added interest [5]. Since institutional theorists are interested in the behaviours and interests of entrepreneurial agents, one may understand their interest in examining how institutions, as structures and mechanisms of social action, arise, evolve, survive, transform, and affect behaviour. Lounsbury and Crumley [31] contended that by combining the ideas of entrepreneurship with institutional theory, the “blind spot” of neo-institutional theory is removed. Institutional entrepreneurs are thought to play a significant impact in the development of new fields as a result of their interest in the development of new institutional fields. This is because they assume an active role as strong agents, strategic actors, or institutional designers in the development of new laws and conventions [32][33][32,33]. Hence, the discussion of institutional entrepreneurship has assisted the re-orientation of neo-institutionalist analysis in focusing on the examination of players and their roles in sparking institutional change [28][31][28,31]. Henrekson [34] disputed the idea that the accumulation of production elements is what drives economic growth. These, according to him, are only immediate sources of growth. Instead, the incentive system that promoted individual effort and investment in both physical and human capital, as well as new technology, was the primary driver of development. The social game rules or the institutional framework, in general, served as the basis for this incentive system. In recent years, the role of institutions has once again become the primary explanation for long-term economic performance. Henrekson [34], in particular, pioneered the idea of institutions’ influence on entrepreneurial activity, including how rewards from society are distributed across various forms of entrepreneurship; some of which are predatory or harmful, while others are constructive. The reasoning seems straightforward at first glance. If institutions are established in a way that makes it advantageous for an individual to exert entrepreneurial effort to go around them, then they will do so rather than use the institution’s ability to minimise uncertainty and improve the quality of contracts and products. In this situation, it is anticipated that corrupt practices and predatory behaviour will triumph over the socially beneficial business. Yu [35] oversimplified the situation by assuming that the availability of entrepreneurial effort in society is constant and that the institutional framework merely affects how that effort is distributed among various activities. This is a significant function of institutions, but the institutional structure is also likely to have an impact on the supply of entrepreneurial endeavour. Further, the examination of damaging and counter-productive entrepreneurship also applies to developed economies. Although industrialised countries do a fair job of steering businesses towards fundamentally productive goals (which accounts for much of the income), there are also many examples of unproductive or predatory entrepreneurship in this context [34][35][34,35]. The amazing networks of illegal cigarette distribution and smuggling in Sweden, as well as the effective and efficient lobbying businesses in Brussels, are exemplary examples. The main conclusion from the aforementioned is that the institutional framework is the sole way to judge entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial action. There is no assurance that prospective entrepreneurs will spend their time and energy in a useful manner. Less prosperity will result from increased entrepreneurship if the institutional environment supports actions that are inefficient or harmful to society. There are many aspects of the institutional system that interact with the type and intensity of entrepreneurial activity, and this interplay is quite complicated and, hence, challenging to separate.

4. Accessibility to Micro-Financing

To enable continual survival, growth, and expansion of small- and medium-sized firms, micro-financing is a form of moral, financial, or actual support made accessible to them [2][9][2,9]. According to Wu and Yue [15], micro-financing is a planned initiative that was created specifically to ensure the viability of micro-businesses in both urban and rural locations. They are also described as initiatives that provide small- and medium-sized businesses with financial and non-financial resources. The non-monetary facilities provided for entrepreneurs include literacy, expert advice, credit generation and utilization, business forecasting, and legal services [2]. Literacy support services, such as training, public lectures, and symposia are all forms of non-monetary amenities. The provision of export and import processes or advising services also falls under this category; conversely, monetary facilities include loans and credit, bank overdrafts, credit purchases, and sales deposits. CBN [4] further claimed that micro-financing capacity to efficiently deliver these facilities goes a long way towards strengthening entrepreneurship capabilities, especially in emerging economies [36]. Micro-financing is diverse, which makes analyzing its impact or contribution to business growth challenging. It is believed that micro-financing can help a populace get out of poverty, although evidence is varied owing to the complex services that they provide. In another dimension, Ojo [8] asserted that micro-financing enables financial inclusion through the provision of credit/loan facilities for business enterprises. This present research concentrates primarily on micro-financing and its accessibility, as these are the most integral aspects that are important to entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Providing credit and loan services to small- and medium-sized firms has been a long-standing challenge in targeting micro-financing [8]. This poor accessibility is often encountered by deposit money banks, as there is no adequate sample of this group of entrepreneurs. The inability of business ventures, especially the self-employed, to have access to these credit facilities has been the basis for the establishment of micro-financing in emerging economies. Sambo [10] argued that the seamless access to micro-finance loans by entrepreneurs without interfacing with conventional banks has been a vital aspect of their growth since its inception, enabling their expansion, survival, and competitiveness in the economy. Micro-credit and lending services should be focused on the poor who do not have access to deposit money banks’ funds, as these loans are intended to encourage underprivileged citizens to engage actively in entrepreneurial endeavours [9]. Despite the growing rate of micro-financing, the majority of business enterprises continue to face financial challenges. In addition, their inability to compete with foreign counterparts in terms of offering innovative commodities has posed a significant barrier to them. It is, therefore, necessary to intervene by analysing how accessibility to loans or microcredit can help entrepreneurs in an emerging economy gain competitiveness.

5. Sustainable Enterprise

In works in the literature, the question of what constitutes the ultimate goal of an enterprise and its owners is still unanswered. Over the years, scholars and managers have engaged in much discussion around this issue [37][38][37,38]. Increasing sales, gaining more market share, or raising the asset’s market worth are common objectives in entrepreneurship assessments for some businesses. Others are concerned only with producing output for the owner or trying to remain competitive. However, no matter how these stakeholders choose to perceive the situation, achieving sustainability is a constant. Likewise, an enterprise is said to be sustainable typically when operations are domiciled, either in rural or urban areas, but with its products offered beyond its locale, thereby stimulating development [38][39][38,39]. Consequently, not all enterprises in urban locations are said to be synonymous with sustainability [21]. Sustainability can also be delivered or linked to an enterprise that is domiciled in rural areas but utilises strong urban networks and a sense of community to obtain resources, utilise them, and market the outcomes externally [40]. The nascent taxonomy in the sustainable enterprise context is ruralism, according to Pato [11]: the formation of new ventures in rural settlements whilst utilizing technology in its processes or merchandise, offering innovative products or services, and creating a niche market [7]. Sustainable enterprises seek to create products that can be sold, as well as to act as a catalyst for change, by spotting and seizing opportunities for long-term success. Sustainable enterprise offers market-oriented solutions to curb environmental degradation whilst lessening social injustice and inequality to attain such ambitious competitive advantages [41][42][41,42]. It stands for the current shift in management and organizational studies towards a more thorough understanding of how businesses function in modern society. In contrast to traditional enterprise, which focuses primarily on maximising financial profit, a sustainable enterprise is built on the fundamental tenet that business owners have the potential to produce economic, social, and environmental value via their activities [43][44][43,44]. The phrase emphasises the intricate connection between economic players, such as business owners, the wider community, and the environment. Sustainable enterprise, as posited by Shepherd and Patzelt [45], is the pursuit of opportunities to create new goods, processes, and services to make a profit, with the term “profit” being used to refer to both financial and non-financial gains for entrepreneurs, the economy, and society. The preservation of the environment, life support systems, and communities are the main goals of any enterprise seeking sustainability. Instead of focusing solely on reducing social and environmental risk, enterprises should aim to create good social change and the restoration of the environment [21]. The sustainability of an enterprise, therefore, suggests that conducting commercial activities aids in the eradication of social injustice and environmental deterioration [43][45][46][43,45,46]. According to a different, albeit somewhat less well-known perspective, the convergence of economic, social, and ecological entrepreneurship leads to sustainable enterprising [37][47][48][37,47,48]. The integration approach to sustainability emphasises that to have a positive impact on how people and entities interact, all anthropogenic economic actors must organise in a way that respects natural boundaries. While compliance-oriented business models are considered to be weak examples of sustainable enterprising, this method discusses only strong ones, such as regenerative and co-evolutionary sustainability. Additionally, this viewpoint broadens the concept of sustainability to encompass an ethical and even spiritual sphere [48]. This is in line with descriptions of a form of enterprising that is sustainable in terms of both its objectives and methods to create wealth, while it also suggests that, at the very least implicitly, sustainable enterprise assumes more meaningful dimensions, such as a moral dimension, a technological dimension, and a socio-political dimension [41].