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Microfinance and micropreneurship in rural South-East Nigeria: an exploration of the effects of institutions.

Ukanwa, Irene; Xiong, Lin; Wasim, Jahangir; Galloway, Laura


Irene Ukanwa

Lin Xiong

Jahangir Wasim

Laura Galloway


Informed by the work of Alistair Anderson on entrepreneurship as embedded in institutional contexts, this paper explores the experiences of 30 women micropreneurs in rural South-East Nigeria. These women are amongst the poorest people in the world and live in an environment marginalized from formal institutions, where informal ones are prioritized, and where culture and tradition reflect patriarchal limitations on their activities and experiences. We find that while microfinance is often cited as one of the key mitigators of institutional voids and an important support for entrepreneuring in deprived contexts, in fact there are critical barriers to uptake and socio-cultural conditions are found to limit the extent to which women trust and engage with microfinance. To that end, new methodologies that might mitigate perceived risks, including deepening poverty, are called for. Implications for those who would support enterprise in poverty circumstances in developing nations include that to be effective they must engage with the socio-cultural institutions and lived realities amongst the people they seek to serve. Alongside this, further application and development of the approaches to studying entrepreneurship in marginalized environments that Alistair was such as central contributor to are advocated.


UKANWA, I., XIONG, L., WASIM, J. and GALLOWAY, L. 2022. Microfinance and micropreneurship in rural South-East Nigeria: an exploration of the effects of institutions. Entrepreneurship and regional development [online], 34(7-8): special issue in memory of Professor Alistair Anderson 'Social perspectives of entrepreneuring', pages 650-667. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2022
Publication Date Sep 30, 2022
Deposit Date Jun 25, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 25, 2022
Journal Entrepreneurship and Regional Development
Print ISSN 0898-5626
Electronic ISSN 1464-5114
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 7-8
Pages 650-667
Keywords Institutions; Microfinance; Poverty; Micropreneurship; Enterpreneuring; Africa
Public URL
Additional Information The accompanying file includes both the main text and supplementary material (Appendices 1 and 2).


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