Factors influencing the identification of sustainable opportunities by SMEs: Empirical evidence from Zambia

P. Choongo, J.C. van Burg, L.J. Paas, E. Masurel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study uses the model of Patzelt and Shepherd (2011) to examine the factors influencing the identification of sustainable opportunities among SMEs in a developing country, Zambia. The factors under investigation include knowledge of the natural/social environment, perception of threats to the natural/social environment, altruism towards others and entrepreneurial knowledge. We interviewed 220 owner-managers in the trading and service sector who supply goods and services to the mining industry in Zambia. We found that altruism towards others was partially supported by our empirical results while the positive effects of knowledge of the natural/social environment and perception of threats to the natural/social environment on the identification of sustainable opportunities were not supported. Contrary to our expectations, entrepreneurial knowledge does not positively moderate the relationship between explanatory variables and the identification of sustainable opportunities. In sum, we found only limited empirical support for the model of Patzelt and Shepherd (2011) concerning the identification of sustainable opportunities. Our findings contribute to literature on entrepreneurship and sustainable opportunity identification by showing what factors influence the identification of sustainable opportunities. This can help us to create awareness among entrepreneurs regarding the effects of entrepreneurial activities on the environment and society; consequently, stimulating entrepreneurs to identify sustainable opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81
JournalSustainability
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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