Business models of transnational entrepreneurs

Arnim Decker, Liesl Riddle, Steven Lucas

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearchpeer-review


Our paper investigates the modes of business model innovation (BMI) that transna-tional entrepreneurs pursue when operating in emerging economy context. Drawingon a sample of 32 African diaspora entrepreneurs, we investigate how entrepreneurs leverage transnational social networks to adapt business models to the specific conditions and opportunities encountered in a range of African countries. The aim of our paper is to develop BMI typologies in the context of transnational entrepreneurship so as to develop a more comprehensive understanding of BMI. BMI can be technological or non-technological, relating to products, services and/or processes. Transnational entrepreneurs are rooted in two (or more) environments, allowing them to draw on a richer diversity of resources (technological, organizational or market knowledge, as well as social capital). In emerging economies, transnational entrepreneurs find new ways to tackle conditions of resource scarcity. In environments that are characterized by varieties of voids, transnational entrepreneurs must find novel ways of collaborating with outside partners to create new opportunities for value creation. They may
also be in need of novel ways of organizing their operations. For example, within our sample we find that some transnational entrepreneurs find alternative ways by vertically adapting their processes of value creation; they find innovative ways to overcome the conditions of scarcity by recombining resources in innovative ways. Employing case study methodology, we add a new perspective on transnational entrepreneurship by investigating the phenomenon from a perspective of BMI. The contribution of this article is twofold: first, as the concept of business model and modes of BMI are still relatively new, we therefore stress that there is a need for more empirical
evidence with systematic samplings of relevant cases, in particular within the context of emerging economies. Second, to the best of our knowledge no research on business model creation and innovation from the perspective of transnational entrepreneur ship has yet been undertaken. Our investigation however indicates that transnational entrepreneurs operating in emerging economies engage in different forms of business model innovation and thus contribute in significant ways to economic development. In so far, our study opens up a new avenue of research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event1st International Conference on Migration/Diaspora Entrepreneurshi - University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Duration: 14 Dec 201515 Dec 2015


Conference1st International Conference on Migration/Diaspora Entrepreneurshi
LocationUniversity of Bremen

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