Demographic Shifts in Entrepreneurship: Exploring Ecosystem Opportunities for Migrants and the Elderly
TWCF Number
Project Duration
May 1 / 2024
- April 30 / 2026
Core Funding Area
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
South America
Amount Awarded

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Vesna Mandakovic Pizarro
Institution Universidad del Desarrollo

In the face of recent demographic shifts in Latin America, this project aims to explore the transformative entrepreneurial ecosystems of emerging economies. Focusing on Chile, two prominent demographic changes will be explored: the overwhelming migration of Venezuelans into the country and a rapid surge in the elderly population. Despite being often excluded from traditional labour markets migrants and the elderly population have turned to entrepreneurship as a hope and opportunity to flourish. Using Kirzner's theory, this research seeks to understand how these individuals harness entrepreneurial ecosystems to identify, create, and exploit market opportunities. Entrepreneurship, as will be understood in this project, becomes more than just an economic activity; it's a conduit for purpose and self-expression.

The research project aims to explore the role of entrepreneurship ecosystems withing emerging economies, particularly focusing on how these ecosystems expand opportunities for vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as senior and migrant entrepreneurs. Two main questions will guide this research in the context of entrepreneurial ecosystems: For the elderly population, we will explore to what extent does the entrepreneurial journey empower seniors to redefine their identities, establish new narratives of aging, and enhance their life fulfilment? For migrants, the main research question is how do cultural adaptation and entrepreneurial identity among migrant entrepreneurs influence their capability to forge meaningful connections with locals, promoting intercultural understanding?

In order to answer the research questions, this project is divided into four work packages (WP). WP1 creates a comprehensive dataset of secondary data of Chile's entrepreneurial ecosystem, with variables such as: institutions, values, culture, and education. WP2 develops a quantitative instrument through a survey to key stakeholders in Chilean regional ecosystems to discern the unique challenges and opportunities for migrant and elderly entrepreneurs. WP3 employs a semi-structured interview approach to uncover untapped insights about the ecosystem relevant to our target demographics. WP4 employs all gathered information to conduct an empirical analysis, exploring the ecosystem's evolution and suggesting empowerment strategies for these entrepreneurs.

This project stands as a pioneering effort in several areas. Not only does it address the under-explored territory of entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging economies, but it also offers insights into how these systems adapt to rapid demographic changes. By highlighting the challenges and opportunities within Chile's entrepreneurial landscape, our research can significantly influence policymaking in other emerging economies, ensuring that migrant and elderly entrepreneurs are provided avenues to flourish in the face of societal shifts. We will generate a novel qualitative and quantitative dataset, will have the participation of young scholars and will generate academic peer reviewed articles.

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