Micro-businesses need support: survival
R. Helen Samujh
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish the role of micro-businesses in providing a
sustainable business and community environment, and to share the perceptions of micro-business
operators about the support they need to survive and be successful.
Design/methodology/approach – An examination of literature regarding survival and available
support for small businesses is followed by results from a New Zealand-based empirical study of
Findings – Micro-businesses are the dominant form of business organisation and have an important
role in maintaining a stable and sustainable global environment. Although such businesses owners tend
not to have a formal education in business or engage with external support agencies, they need support
from community-based networks. These networks could reduce the sense of isolation, whilst at the same
time providing an opportunity for sharing experiences, in particular about problems encountered.
Research limitations/implications – Implications for other jurisdictions may be limited as
micro-business operators in New Zealand are relatively highly educated and the sample numbers are
small (19 in-depth interviews and 91 questionnaire respondents).
Practical implications – There is a need for psychological support for micro-business operators.
Actions taken to increase their probability of survival and success are likely to enhance their interest in
other aspects of the environment.
Originality/value – This paper helps to ﬁll a gap in the small business literature on the behaviour and
perceptions of micro-business operators. The paper presents original research on the psychological
aspects that impinge on the business activities through surveys of micro-business operators.
Keywords Small enterprises, Sustainable development, Communities
Paper type Research paper
Micro-businesses have an important role in contributing towards a stable and sustainable
social and economic community environment. A core of small businesses, particularly
micro-businesses (ﬁve or fewer employees), is needed to build and maintain the
sustainability of the social, cultural, environmental and economic development of
communities. Yet their entrepreneurial role in building communities has not often been
Entrepreneurship has been considered so far largely as an economic rather than a human and
cultural behavioural concept and the traditions of positivist economic and management research
have pervaded its understanding, (Rae, 2000, p. 147).
Micro-business enterprises provide a way to support communities through fostering
self-development and self-support along with pride in creativity. For example, the work of
World Vision is based on the belief that where communities are assisted to make use of their
resources, they are able to increase their level of self-sufﬁciency. Successful
DOI 10.1108/14720701111108817 VOL. 11 NO. 1 2011, pp. 15-28, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1472-0701
Helen Samujh is a Senior
Lecturer in the Department
of Accounting at the
University of Waikato, New
Accepted 7 July 2008