Entrepreneurship, sustainability and resilience
Friday 28 November 2014 ~ 10:00 to 11:30 am ~ QUT Gardens Point Campus – Brisbane
Presented by Brendan Gray, Professor of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Sustainable entrepreneurship is an emerging field that investigates potential solutions to environmental, social and/or economic problems. It also provides a conceptual link between entrepreneurship and sustainable development (Parrish 2010). This means that any improvements in human well-being need to be undertaken within the limits of natural systems (Hall, Daneke, and Lenox 2010). Thus, sustainable entrepreneurs face a major challenge: how to sustain nature, sources of life support and communities while also attempting to develop economic, health and sociocultural gains (Shepherd and Patzelt 2011)?
Sustainability focuses on behavioural changes that help return unstable system to a steady state. However, it is questionable whether this is a realistic goal, particularly for climate-threatened communities (Gray et al 2014). Ecologists are more concerned with resilience, which focuses on adaptation to exogenous shocks (Whiteman, Walker, and Perego 2013). Resilience also resonates with the entrepreneurial concepts of bricolage, effectuation and improvisation (Fisher 2012).
Researchers have examined the resilience of entrepreneurs to a variety of challenges. However, few studies have investigated how entrepreneurship development agencies can improve the economic and sociocultural resilience of climate-threatened communities. In this presentation, Brendan Gray discusses recent research into the business models of community-based entrepreneurship development organisations in Samoa and Tonga. He uses this context to explore questions of entrepreneurship, sustainability and resilience in challenging environments.
Brendan Gray is a Professor of Marketing and was formerly Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Otago. He teaches marketing management, international marketing, public relations and sustainable entrepreneurship. While his former research into how to improve the international competitiveness of service firms focused on the “profit” side of business, he has balanced this with his current interest in “social” issues, such as how community-based entrepreneurship can improve the resilience of entrepreneurs, their families and communities in climate-threatened contexts.
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