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Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 81; doi:10.3390/su8010081

Factors Influencing the Identification of Sustainable Opportunities by SMEs: Empirical Evidence from Zambia

1
Department of Management and Organization, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam 1081 HV, The Netherlands
2
School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, College of Business, Massey University, Private Bag 102904, North Shore, Auckland 0745, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Tom Vanacker, Yves Fassin and Mirjam Knockaert
Received: 17 October 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 15 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entrepreneurship and Sustainability)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable entrepreneurship; sustainable opportunities; opportunity identification; SMEs; developing countries; Zambia sustainable entrepreneurship; sustainable opportunities; opportunity identification; SMEs; developing countries; Zambia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Choongo, P.; Van Burg, E.; Paas, L.J.; Masurel, E. Factors Influencing the Identification of Sustainable Opportunities by SMEs: Empirical Evidence from Zambia. Sustainability 2016, 8, 81.

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