Social entrepreneurship in Black-majority neighborhoods: The case of Indianapolis


  • Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis Ball State University
  • Suosheng Wang



The study explores how social entrepreneurship is shaped by its environment and particular institutional arrangements and contextual factors by focusing on the nature of engagement and participation by business owners in Indianapolis’ fourteen Black-majority neighborhoods.  The study seeks to answer the following two research questions:  a) In what ways can these small business entrepreneurs be considered social entrepreneurs, and b) how do these small business entrepreneurs overcome existing barriers to contribute to the revitalization of their neighborhoods?  The study uses an exploratory research design involving an online structured questionnaire and informal conversations with study participants.  Selected participants met three criteria:  a) geographic sampling, b) institutional context, and c) different business typologies.  Findings from the survey and the informal conversations point to the daily struggles many small businesses face as they struggle to survive, including access to financial and human capital, generating low revenue, and operating with few employees.  Keywords: black-majority neighborhoods; social entrepreneurship; motivators; barriers; small business