Research Report

Under-represented entrepreneurs: A literature review

ERC Research Report


Wishart, Maria, ERC,

Associated Themes
  • Diversity
  • Entrepreneurship

Some groups of individuals are more likely than others to struggle to find paid employment because they experience systemic disadvantage of some kind. These groups include migrants, people who identify as having a disability, and those with low educational attainment. The entrepreneurship route – essentially becoming self-employed or starting their own businesses – is often suggested as a way into work for these people. However, fewer individuals from these groups engage in entrepreneurial activity of this kind, and those that do succeed in starting their own businesses experience lower turnover and higher failure rates than their mainstream counterparts. These groups of individuals are thus under-represented in entrepreneurship, and this paper reviews published research from both academic and non-academic sources that investigates why this might be.