chapter  7
Models to Support Entrepreneurial Activities in Developing Countries: Community Development
Pages 17

The necessity and effectiveness of micro-level techniques for reaching the most vulnerable have been strongly established over the years. As shown in the previous chapters, through multiple examples, it isn’t only through large operations like the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh or URAC in Mexico addressing the concerns of micro-enterprises that helps to reduce poverty. Smaller organisations, which support micro-entrepreneurs with loans and training, also provide a significant contribution to the need of alleviating poverty. However, most financial services and micro-enterprise programmes have historically centred on individual success. Although individual achievement is valuable, an individualistic strategy may jeopardise community and sustainable development because such a strategy is more interested in the economic growth of single entities rather than community wellbeing with the addition of social and ecological objectives (Vargas 2000). While micro-enterprises are often small scale, vulnerable to competition, under-capitalised and unable to generate many jobs, community-based enterprises have, on the contrary, the potential to be larger scale, generate more jobs and return benefit to the community beyond the owner. Local community involvement and the development of social capital are identified as significant elements of success in any model aiming to reduce poverty (Cross 1998; Sievers & Vandenberg 2007; Rugimbana & Spring 2009). Chamlee-Wright (2005) recognises that tapping into the knowledge embedded within local social institutions identifies the ‘real’ needs of and opportunities for a community, lowers transaction costs, saves time and helps anticipate and avoid pitfalls.