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Entrepreneurial discovery by the working poor

Journal of Developmental Enterpreneurship. September 3, 2006

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We test the proposition that it is possible to train the economically vulnerable, working poor of inner cities to make entrepreneurial discoveries. We demonstrate the effective use of a model of constrained, systematic search. We employ an experimental design with a control group using the alertness approach recommended by received theory and a treatment group using systematic search. Our results indicate the systematic search approach works 25 times better among a sample of the working poor. In addition, we operationalize systematic search training protocols and implementation. We conclude by discussing special challenges inherent in training the economically disadvantaged and suggest that the lack of trust of those from outside the local community necessitates the building of bridges to targeted residents. Bridge-building, as an integral part of public policy utilizing large-scale training, might be accomplished through reliance on established community relationships.