McKenna Center program opens doors for disadvantaged entrepreneurs

Author: Erin Blasko

ND Experts

Michael Morris

Michael Morris

McKenna Center for Human Development & Global Business

Entrepreneur Raymond Barbour stands in front of his port-a-pit grill while smoke envelopes his face.

While the word entrepreneur often conjures images of tech titans such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the reality is much less glamorous, according to Michael Morris, a faculty member in the Keough School of Global Affairs’ McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business at the University of Notre Dame.

In fact, the majority of ventures across the globe are started by people in poverty and disadvantaged circumstances, Morris said, particularly when people operating within the informal, or underground, economy are included in the count.

And while data on such ventures is scarce, Morris noted that even within developed economies, they can be responsible for a meaningful percentage of economic output.

What’s more, he explained, a growing body of anecdotal research findings supports the idea of entrepreneurship as a route to financial independence.

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