Working Papers

Latin American Middle-Class Entrepreneurs and their Firms: A Regional View and International Comparison

AUTHOR(s): Federico, Juan S. , Kantis, Hugo D. , Trajtenberg, Luis A.
PUBLISHED: July 2012


Based on a cross-country comparison of dynamic new firms, this paper attempts to characterize Latin American middle-class entrepreneurs and their firms. In general, Latin American middle-class entrepreneurs tend to face more difficult conditions in terms of resources and skills acquisition than those belonging to more affluent social strata. They tend to have earlier exposure to business experience since they generally belong to families in which their fathers’ occupation allowed for such exposure, and the universities where they studied are sounder platforms for developing abilities and contacts. Likewise, compared to middle-class entrepreneurs from more developed regions, Latin American middle- class entrepreneurs tend to be less exposed to the business world and entrepreneurial role models. Additionally, they are more likely to rely on a less qualified and less business-specific support network, and initial financing is less accessible to them. The paper summarizes several key policy implications and recommendations derived from the analysis.

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