Asia Pacific Journal of Management

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Entrepreneurship, poverty, and Asia: Moving beyond subsistence entrepreneurship

  • Garry D. Bruton
  • David AhlstromEmail author
  • Steven Si


Approximately 1.7 billion people in Asia live in poverty today. To date, efforts to address poverty in Asia have largely focused on subsistence entrepreneurship rather than on creating ventures that empower them to break out of poverty. That is, the mechanisms that have been used, such as microlending, generally lead entrepreneurs to create businesses providing basic life essentials rather than helping them build businesses that generate capital to improve the entrepreneur’s standard of living. This article initially reviews what we know about entrepreneurship as a solution to poverty in Asia. We then examine what we know about other major tools to address poverty in Asia. Next, we propose a research agenda on poverty in Asia. Finally, we introduce the articles in this Special Issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management, “Asia & Poverty: Closing the Great Divide through Entrepreneurship & Innovation,” on new approaches to entrepreneurship to help address the key issue of the alleviation of poverty.


Poverty Base of the pyramid Entrepreneurship Firm growth Development economics 



The work in this article was substantially supported by a grant from the RGC Research Grant Direct Allocation Scheme (Project no. 2070465, 2011-2012) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The authors would also like to thank Marc Ahlstrom of Burlington County College for his editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neeley School of BusinessTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA
  2. 2.Honorary ProfessorJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Department of ManagementThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  4. 4.Bloomsburg University of PennsylvaniaBloomsburgUSA

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