Internal barriers to small business development: a study of independent retailers from the Edinburgh South Asian community
Welsh, R. (2009) Internal barriers to small business development: a study of independent retailers from the Edinburgh South Asian community, no. 363.
This thesis presents a conceptual model of the nature/interaction of internal factors shaping individual ethnic minority micro-enterprise owners' response to external threats in the business environment aimed to assist business support agencies developing/targeting appropriate help/support to enhance business development. Focus of the empirical research is Edinburgh Pakistani community owned convenience stores, as the failure to survive will adversely affect this community disproportionately reliant on the c-store sector and provision of related local social and economic benefits. The intangible influences on business approaches (education, experience, access to finance/business advice, personal values, goals, motivation, role models and cultural background) demands a qualitative, postmodern constructivist methodology, utilising social science adaptive grounded theory methods for sample selection, data collection/management, and theory generation. The initial conceptual model emerging from constant comparison analysis of qualitative interviews with a theoretical sample of 21 Edinburgh Pakistani c-store owners indicates key internal factors as start-up motivation, cultural influences and changing aspirations, awareness and acknowledgement of these influences on predominantly reactive responses to trading challenges varying widely. Comparison with wider ethnic minority/micro-enterprise research develops a conceptual model of the interacting internal barriers to minority community micro-enterprise development. Within any minority community and/or micro-business sector the owner's response to changing business environments is shaped by three factors: motivation for self-employment and changing sojourner mentality; cultural influences and depth of social embeddedness; and generational aspirations and degree of economic embeddedness in the mainstream community. By taking the complex, multi-layered, individual, dynamic nature of these factors into account when developing and marketing business advice, support agencies can design and deliver products and services relevant to specific needs and resource availability. Raising owners' awareness of the factors influencing business decisions will increase the potential for micro-enterprises to react proactively to external threats, with related benefits to individual owners, minority populations and the local community.