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What motivates ecopreneurs to start businesses?
Jodyanne Kirkwood and Sara Walton
Centre for Entrepreneurship, School of Business, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Purpose – Ecopreneurs are those entrepreneurs who start for-profit businesses with strong underlying green values and who sell green products or services. This is an emerging field where research is still in its infancy. Research has been called for to understand the factors that motivate these ecopreneurs to start businesses – and that is the focus of this study. The aim of this paper is to compare the findings with results of extant literature on entrepreneurial motivations. Design/methodology/approach – This study comprises 14 in-depth case studies of ecopreneurial companies in New Zealand in 2008. Participants were interviewed in a face-to-face, semi-structured format. In total, 88 secondary sources such as media reports, industry statistics, and information from company web sites were also collected. Findings – Ecopreneurs were motivated by five factors: their green values; earning a living; passion; being their own boss; and seeing a gap in the market. Ecopreneurs appear to have quite similar motivations to entrepreneurs in general, aside from their green motivations. They had lower level financial motivations than have been found in prior research on entrepreneurs. The ecopreneurs were primarily pulled into entrepreneurship, which bodes well for their ongoing success. The paper presents a number of contributions to both the ecopreneurship and entrepreneurship literatures. Research limitations/implications – The small sample is a potential limitation and the country context may also influence the findings. Originality/value – This is one of the largest samples of ecopreneurs to date. Given the emerging nature of the field of ecopreneurship, this study’s conclusions require further research and testing. A total of 11 such suggestions for future research are made. Keywords Business formation, Entrepreneurs, Motivation (psychology), New Zealand Paper type Research paper

Received September 2008 Revised February 2009 Accepted April 2009

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research Vol. 16 No. 3, 2010 pp. 204-228 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1355-2554 DOI 10.1108/13552551011042799

1. Introduction Ecopreneurs are emerging as a new breed of entrepreneur who are worthy of much greater consideration than has been given to date. The field of ecopreneurship began to receive research attention in the late 1990s (Anderson, 1998; Keogh and Polonsky, 1998; Pastakia, 1998), but is still in its infancy (Cohen and Winn, 2007). Clemens (2006) similarly notes that little research exists on the environment and small firms in general (see, for example de Bruin and Lewis, 2005). While there has been increasing research interest in discussing ecopreneurs from a conceptual perspective, there remains little empirical research to date (Gibbs, 2007). Only one study could be located which focused directly on the ecological orientation of founder’s start-up processes (Freimann et al., 2005). Where there has been useful related research, small sample sizes prevail. Authors to date have focused on single case studies (Dixon and Clifford, 2007), or small samples of between one and 10 cases (de Bruin and Lewis, 2005; Freimann et al., 2005; Pastakia, 1998; Schaltegger, 2002). Others have studied co-operative ownership arrangements in the energy sector (associative entrepreneurship) (Cato et al., 2008).

Ecopreneurs are defined in this study as those entrepreneurs who enter these eco-friendly markets not only to make profits, but also having strong, underlying green values. Our definition is:
Entrepreneurs who found new businesses based on the principle of sustainability (based on ideas from Issak, 2002; Walley and Taylor, 2002).

What motivates ecopreneurs?

This definition has two main components which also need to be carefully defined. First, there are many different definitions of what constitutes an entrepreneur (see, for example Carland et al., 1984; Gartner, 1990), and no consensus has been reached. The definition used in this study focuses on the founding role but others would suggest that innovation is a requirement for being an entrepreneur (Schumpeter, 1934). Therefore, we define an entrepreneur as someone who is the founder of a new for-profit business. The study is particularly focused on people who start a business with pre-existing green values. These types of ecopreneurs have been referred to as “green-green” (Issak, 2002). One of the classic examples is the company founded by Anita Roddick – The Body Shop (Issak, 2002). Our interest is in these business founders as they have the ability to “constitute and shape the “face” of their company” (Schaltegger, 2002 p. 47). These ecopreneurs who are “eco-dedicated” have been found to exhibit “firm convictions” (Freimann et al., 2005, p. 117). We contrast this population with other entrepreneurs and business owners who undertake (or contemplate) environmental initiatives after starting their business (McKeiver and Gadenne, 2005; Rao, 2008; Schaper, 2002b). For example, research has concluded that while entrepreneurs may have positive environmental attitudes this does not automatically translate into the adoption of environmental management systems (McKeiver and Gadenne, 2005). The second component of our definition of an ecopreneur is that the business must be sustainable. Our focus is on green entrepreneurs, and while that might mean they operate with some social values, their inclusion in this research is primarily a consequence of their green practices. Of particular interest for this study of ecopreneurs is the notion of ecological sustainability. Our definition of an ecopreneur is not, however, as narrow as some researchers who include the requirement of having social drivers as well as environmental and business goals (Dixon and Clifford, 2007). For some it is strongly linked to the greening of an existing business (Issak, 2002), and for others ecopreneurship is related to sustainability, which adds social dimensions such as justice and equity into the construction of the business (Gladwin et al., 1995). Theoretical perspectives Our view at the outset of this study is that ecopreneurs are a subset of entrepreneurs who may differ in the way they start businesses, particularly in their motivations for becoming entrepreneurs. Before commencing with a review of the relevant literature, it is important to describe our theoretical approach to ecopreneurship. In addressing the research aims there are various perspectives of analysis that are useful. Researchers have noted that psychologists, economists and sociologists have tried to understand the business start-up process (Freimann et al., 2005). In early studies of entrepreneurship, economists have had much input into the body of knowledge about the field (Knight, 1921; Penrose, 1968; Schumpeter, 1934). The focus of economists has primarily been at the firm level (such as size of the firm, growth intentions, firm performance and survival rates), but this perspective has the potential


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danger of removing the person (the entrepreneur) from the study of entrepreneurship (Smith, 1967). In this paper, one of our research objectives was to explore the motivations for becoming an ecopreneur, and it seemed that Smith’s concerns were well-founded. An alternative view of entrepreneurship is from a psychological perspective. This psychological viewpoint certainly moves closer to being interested in the entrepreneur, rather than looking at entrepreneurship as a purely economic process. Researchers following this psychological perspective have focused on personality traits such as the need for achievement (Langan-Fox and Roth, 1995), and risk-taking propensity (Belcourt et al., 1991; Watson and Robinson, 2002). However, like economic views of entrepreneurship, psychological perspectives have also been criticized because “too often entrepreneurship is viewed merely as a psychological capacity like musical or poetical talent” (Campbell, 1992, p. 21). Due to the weaknesses of both of these perspectives of entrepreneurship, this study prefers a sociological theoretical framework. This perspective argues that the social environment affects entrepreneurs (Belcourt, 1987; Hurley, 1999). Such perspectives assume that behaviour is “so constrained by ongoing social relations that to construe them as independent is a grievous misunderstanding” (Granovetter, 1985, p. 482). We concur with other ecopreneurship researchers who observed that “both entrepreneurship and environmentalism are deeply embedded in the social matrix” (Anderson, 1998, p. 138). In order to understand how individuals become ecopreneurs, we must view their decisions as being embedded in a wider sociological perspective. Indeed, “entrepreneurs are human, part of the same ecological system as their organization, and consequently subject to the same concerns” (Anderson, 1998, p. 138). In practice, taking this sociological perspective meant that we asked questions about the founder’s background, their personal views on the environment and discussions often revolved around their families and the importance of that in their motivations for ecopreneurship. The open-ended questions (discussed further in method) allowed us to explore issues that were relevant to our participants, and cast a wider net than taking only a firm level (economics approach) or individual (psychological) approach as discussed earlier. 2. Literature review The emerging ecopreneurship literature As mentioned above, we view ecopreneurship to be one form of entrepreneurship. The growth in ecopreneurs may be partially due to increasing market opportunities for sustainable products and services. Customers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious (Laroche et al., 2001). Many are losing confidence in larger corporations and have expectations of companies to exhibit more social and environmental responsibility (Webb et al., 2008). A trend towards value-driven environmentalism has flourished since consumers started demanding and purchasing environmentally friendly products and services (Bansal and Roth, 2000; Post and Altman, 1994). Recent discourse on environmental issues such as climate change and carbon miles has raised awareness of the environment and many people now choose to purchase with environmental sensitivity in mind (Anderson, 1998). In response to this, many companies are recognising the need to go green (Bansal and Roth, 2000; Schaper, 2002a). Increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are also recognizing opportunities for new ventures as consumer demand grows for more eco-friendly products and services

(Cohen and Winn, 2007; Dean and McMullen, 2007; Schaltegger, 2002; Schaper, 2002a). New ventures are a different scenario to companies which go green; because when someone founds a new business they have the ability to shape their company from the outset (Schaltegger, 2002). Thus, with ecopreneurs, green values are built into the company from inception. Some background to the current thinking on environmental change is first required. Three key drivers for environmental change have been identified (Post and Altman, 1994). First, compliance-based environmentalism – based on regulatory and legal systems – is enforced by governments. Second, market-driven environmentalism has emerged, whereby companies are given incentives to be environmentally conscious. Finally, there has been a trend towards value-driven environmentalism, where consumers started demanding and purchasing environmentally friendly products and services. This driver has moved the focus to balancing economic activity with environmental protection, and has become known as sustainable development (Post and Altman, 1994). Post and Altman (1994) also recognize that there are many barriers to environmental change. One way of creating environmental change is for entrepreneurs to start businesses to do so. When someone founds a new business they have the ability to shape their company from the outset (Schaltegger, 2002). To borrow from Freimann et al. (2005), it may be easier to “infect” founders with ideas of sustainability. This solves many of the problems that existing companies have in “going green” (Bansal and Roth, 2000; Schaper, 2002a); which many apparently do only as a defensive mechanism rather than as a proactive desire to be green (Freimann et al., 2005) At first glance, entrepreneurship and environmentalism appear to have little in common. Indeed, some suggest they could be seen as “intrinsically hostile” to each other (Anderson, 1998, p. 135). However, on closer examination, this view may not be the case – as Anderson (1998) notes: the two are not irreconcilable, entrepreneurs can give environmentalism substance, and they may be a vehicle for social change. Therefore, we support the argument that both entrepreneurship and environmentalism are about values and attitudes (Anderson, 1998), and commitment (Keogh and Polonsky, 1998). There has been increasing interest in the notion that ecopreneurs may act as important change agents (Anderson, 1998; Gibbs, 2007; Keogh and Polonsky, 1998; Pastakia, 1998), in part due to market opportunities. Indeed, researchers have recently begun to question whether a sustainable economy requires an increased presence of non-traditional forms of entrepreneurship, such as associative entrepreneurship (co-operatives) (Cato et al., 2008). Motivations for entrepreneurship Little research has been undertaken on ecopreneurs’ motivations for entrepreneurship, so we have to rely largely on a broad grounding in the general literature on entrepreneurial motivations. Motivations for entrepreneurship have been the focus of many studies over time (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003; Segal et al., 2005; Taormina and Lao, 2007). A review of this literature leads us to conclude that an individual’s motivation to become an entrepreneur is often complex and multi-faceted (Marlow and Strange, 1994; Shane et al., 1991) as well as the start-up process taking a wide range of different timeframes depending on the entrepreneur (Freimann et al., 2005). Researchers have undertaken studies to explore whether motivations differ between managers and entrepreneurs (Berthold and Neumann, 2008); as well as more specific

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research on whether motivations differ according to gender (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003), country context (Taormina and Lao, 2007), and people of different ethnicities (Shinnar and Young, 2008; Sriram et al., 2007). The primary theory development around entrepreneurial motivations has been to classify motivations into categories of push and pull factors. These push and pull factors have been used widely as a means of classifying entrepreneurial motivations (Hakim, 1989; McClelland et al., 2005; Segal et al., 2005). Push factors are characterized by personal or external factors (including a marriage break-up, or being passed over for promotion), and often have negative connotations. Alternatively, pull factors are those that draw people to start businesses (such as seeing an opportunity) (Hakim, 1989). While push and pull factors continue to be used as a key means of classifying motivations, other researchers have used similarly opposing categorizations that are closely related, such as autonomy (pull) and economic necessity (push) (Bogenhold and Staber, 1991); or opportunity (pull) and necessity (push) as used by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) studies (Frederick and Chittock, 2006). Pull factors have been found to be more prevalent than push factors (Segal et al., 2005), which is important because those entrepreneurs who are primarily pulled into business ownership are more likely to have ongoing success with their businesses (Amit and Muller, 1995). Motivations for entrepreneurship can be seen to revolve around four main drivers: a desire for independence; monetary motivations; factors related to family; and factors related to work (Carter et al., 2003; DeMartino and Barbato, 2003). A desire for independence and autonomy is often the most significant motivating factor for many people in becoming an entrepreneur (Borooah et al., 1997; Fox, 1998). A desire for independence is primarily classed as a pull factor. Monetary motivations are also usually classed as a pull factor. People are not always motivated to start a business by money (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003; Fischer et al., 1993) but this has been found to be important in a study of prospective entrepreneurs (Alstete, 2003). A review of the literature shows that money is a relatively low scoring factor when considered in relation to other motivating factors (Kirkwood, 2004). The final two categories are work-related and family-related motivators. Motivations to become an entrepreneur that relate to work are usually considered to be push factors. There appear to be two manifestations of work-related motivations: those regarding a job or employer, and broader career or employment level factors. First, at an individual job level, factors such as job satisfaction (Honig-Haftel and Marin, 1986), job dissatisfaction (Cromie, 1987), or instability in a job (Borooah et al., 1997) can motivate people to leave their employment and become entrepreneurs. On a higher level are career and employment issues such as career flexibility, advancement and co-career issues (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003), dissatisfaction with one’s career (Cromie, 1987; Marlow, 1997), having difficulty finding employment (Fox, 1998; Hakim, 1989) and redundancy (Borooah et al., 1997; Marlow, 1997) – all of which can feature as motivators in becoming an entrepreneur. Considerations for family in entrepreneurial motivations include factors such as combining waged and domestic labour (Still and Soutar, 2001), family-related reasons (Sundin and Holmquist, 1991), family policies and family obligations (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003) and a desire for work-family balance (Kirkwood and Tootell, 2008). These household and family issues have been termed “motherhood” (de Bruin et al., 2007). Family-related motivations for becoming an entrepreneur are often labelled push factors.

Motivations for ecopreneurship To date, there has been limited research into sustainability at the time of starting a business. Where research has been undertaken, it has been suggested that founders of new businesses may have different levels of sustainable orientation which they take into their business start-up (Freimann et al., 2005). Like other types of entrepreneurs described in the previous section, motivations for ecopreneurship may also be multi-faceted (Keogh and Polonsky, 1998). One of the key distinguishing features of ecopreneurs is their strong ethical reasoning (Linnanen, 2002). Usually the ecopreneur ˆ has a “raison d’etre” that exceeds their desire for profits and often this is associated with making the world a better place to live (Linnanen, 2002). Indeed ecopreneurs are often positioned as “crucial change agents” (Walley and Taylor, 2002) or “a critical force in enabling the world to change its path” (Cohen and Winn, 2007, p. 46). Thus, their motivations for making a difference and the role they play in doing so through displacing unsustainable means (Cohen and Winn, 2007) suggests that they have an important transitional role in sustainability. For the ecopreneur though, the ethical reasons are often not the only reasons for developing the business. Cohen and Winn (2007) found the motivations of ecopreneurs could be to fill a market need. Such market needs have arisen as a result of market imperfections – imperfections that produce environmental degradation (Cohen and Winn, 2007) – or as a response to the market failing to deal with negative externalities (Pastakia, 1998). While this discussion implies that all ecopreneurs are similar, this is not necessarily the case. People have many different goals, even within the sub-group of ecopreneurs (Keogh and Polonsky, 1998). These studies have produced a number of varying typologies or categories of ecopreneurs. At the most simple level, ecopreneurs have been divided into two groups based on their objectives (social and commercial), although these boundaries may be blurred (Pastakia, 1998). Others have proposed there are a greater number of typologies of ecopreneurs such as: desire to make money or change the world (Linnanen, 2002); hard or soft structural influences and economic or sustainability orientation (Walley and Taylor, 2002); and priority of business goal and market effect of business (Schaltegger, 2002). The typologies produce types of ecopreneurs such as the “ad hoc environpreneur”, the “ethical maverick”, the “visionary champion” and “innovation opportunist” (Walley and Taylor, 2002). Another proposes the following types: the non-profit business, self-employer, successful idealist, and the opportunist (Linnanen, 2002). These different types of ecopreneurs may also have varying motivations for starting their business. Freimann et al’s focus on start-ups provides insights relevant to our study (Freimann et al., 2005). Their study of German companies results in three categories of ecological orientation: eco-dedicated, eco-open and eco-reluctant start-ups. In other research from New Zealand, a framework (green entrepreneurship framework) offers a matrix which includes market orientation and green entrepreneurship responses (de Bruin and Lewis, 2005). A related study offers interesting insights: a study of associative entrepreneurs in the renewable energy field found people were motivated by independence (being independent from the National Grid) and sustainability, but less concerned with financial achievement (Cato et al., 2008, p. 325). On the whole, this study found “striking similarities” between these types of entrepreneur and the traditional model of entrepreneurship. While this discussion shows little empirical research has been conducted on ecopreneurs, even less is known about differences between ecopreneurs and conventional

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entrepreneurs (Freimann et al., 2005; Gibbs, 2007; Schaper, 2002a). Researchers have specifically called for further investigation into understanding what drives environmental entrepreneurs (Cato et al., 2008), and whether (and if so, how) ecopreneurs differ in their motivations to entrepreneurs in general (Gibbs, 2007). This study, as outlined in the following section, has as one of its aims to compare and contrast these two groups in order to contribute to the understanding of ecopreneurship. 3. Method Given the limited understanding we have of ecopreneurship, a qualitative research method was considered to be the most appropriate approach in this study. Qualitative approaches are particularly useful in areas that are not well advanced theoretically (Edmondson and McManus, 2007). This study is case studies of 14 ecopreneurial companies. Case research is useful in addressing research which has explanatory questions such “how” and “why” questions (Yin, 1984). Yin (1984) concludes that different types of research question demand different research strategies. Research involving explanatory questions requires a need to make operational links over time, and case studies are appropriate. Case studies therefore differ from other research approaches which are intent on answering how, what and how-much questions, which focus on measuring frequencies or the incidence of an event (Yin, 1984). Theory development is the aim of this study, in addition to the usual description questions such as what, how, when and who (Bacharach, 1989; Whetten, 1989). We use Eisenhardt’s (1989, p. 532) method and process for building theory from cases that is “highly iterative” and “tightly linked to data”. The primary data collection chosen was fieldwork in the form of semi-structured interviews. Interviews were chosen as it is often a complex decision to become an entrepreneur and interviews allow for “full expression of the interrelationships between the many variables that can impact on one person’s ultimate decision to start a business” (Stevenson, 1990, p. 442). The sample arose from businesses we heard were operating in Dunedin. The sample emerged from searching web sites such as Ecobob ( and companies’ own web sites. Word of mouth referrals also provided potential names of people who may meet the definition of an ecopreneur used in this study. Either one or both of the authors interviewed the 14 companies in a face-to-face format. There were 17 participants in total, because in three of the companies two ecopreneurs were interviewed. The semi-structured interviews were held in three of New Zealand’s largest cities and one in a rural town. We purposefully selected ecopreneurs in a wide range of different industries, given the limited understanding of ecopreneurs to date. Ethical approval was gained for this study. The researchers gained approval from the companies to be identified, but for the purposes of confidentiality, we do not identify individuals with the direct quotes in the discussion. Interviews ranged from 40 minutes to one hour and 50 minutes and all were tape recorded and transcribed. In total, 17 hours of interviews were conducted. Additionally, information from secondary sources such as media reports, industry statistics, company web sites and promotional material were gathered to supplement the interviews. Overall, 88 such documents and reports were analyzed for the study. The study concluded after 14 cases as it was apparent that similar themes were emerging in a number of cases. While we make no claim that these 14 cases are exhaustive (or generalizable), it is more than adequate for the purposes of moving forward the dialogue and theory on ecopreneurs.


Computers have become more recognized lately as tools to assist with analysing qualitative data (Richards, 1999, 2000). The QSR NUD *IST Vivo (NVivo) software package was used to manage the data. NVivo allows coding to be undertaken in a relatively simple and useful way. It comprises both a code and retrieve component, as well as an index system of nodes and trees (Richards and Richards, 1994). We coded transcripts according to themes, and analyzed them using a constant comparison approach (Glaser, 1992). The data were coded by paragraph and sentence as proposed by Strauss and Corbin (1990). Code notes were initial thoughts about themes, and possible relationships and issues that appeared to be important to the participants. Reliable methods and valid conclusions are essential to any good piece of research. In this study, the issue of credibility and transferability was addressed in three main ways: using convergent interviews and native categories, selecting quotes and contrary cases, and in the use of tabulations. Native categories are those that the participants use themselves, rather than those developed by the researcher when interpreting their answers. Data reduction in qualitative research is a necessary task and portions of transcripts have been selected to illustrate the views of participants. Participants’ own categories were tabulated as suggested by Silverman (2000). The issue of dependability was also addressed in three ways: inter-coder agreement (between the authors), field notes, and tape recording the interviews. The case companies Before presenting the findings, some notes on the demographics of the sample are useful (refer also to Table I). As can be seen in Table I, the participants were mainly in the 40-49 age category (11 people). Ten were male and seven were female. The businesses they operated were relatively small, employing on average five full-time staff and 0.5 part-time workers. Half of the businesses had an annual sales turnover of less than $100,000 and only three businesses had sales over $1 million ($1 NZD ¼ 0.35 GBP). This is partially due to the age of the businesses studied – the majority had been in business less than three years. Given that this study is of 14 companies, it is important to understand each of the cases and their mode of entry into business. Brief descriptions of the companies are shown in the following list (names have not been disguised as full permission was given to use the companies’ identities in the study): (1) CA Solar Ltd was started by former colleagues in 2000. The company sells and installs solar panels and related services. The two shareholders each have different roles in the company at present, with one keeping his day job until the company is more financially viable, while the other works full time in the business. They currently employ no other staff and run the business out of one of the owner’s homes. (2) Powerhouse Wind is a company that produces windmills for residential use. It was started in 2007 by two engineers, who both have a passion for windmills. Funded through personal savings and a research and development grant, the company’s first three prototype windmills has recently been developed in their rented premises. (3) Just Organic is an organic food delivery service run by a couple with two pre-school children. It started in 2007 from home. The couple are passionate about

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Company 3 3 2 4 1 20 1 15 (þ franchised drivers) 1 3 1 15 1 4 40-49 30-39 30-39, 30-39 40-49 50 þ 40-49 40-49 40-49, 40-49 40-49, 40-49 40-49 40-49, 50 þ 40-49, ,29 40-49 , 29

Powerhouse Wind Green Man Brewery CA Solar Ltd Just Organic NZ Essence Focus – Sustainable Commercial Cleaning Totel Green Cabs

Fernbird Eco Store

Puna Flax Paper Hybrid House Serra Foods Earthly Delights Waitaki Honey

Table I. Demographic information for the cases Employees (including founders) M, M M M, M M, F (couple) F M F M F, M (couple) F M M F F, M (couple) Age of founder(s) (italics indicates these people were not interviewed) Gender (italics indicates these people were not interviewed) Date founded Location 2007 2006 2000 2007 2007 2005 2007 2007 2005 1990 2000 1988 2005 1990s Dunedin Dunedin Wellington Christchurch Christchurch Wellington Wellington Wellington Wellington Dunedin Dunedin Christchurch Christchurch Waitaki


Windmills Organic beer Solar panels/installation Organic produce delivery Skincare products Cleaning company

Shopping bags Taxi service

Online store (clothing, accessories, household goods) Flax paper Green Architect Cyclops Yoghurt Worm farms Honey








organics and have very firm beliefs that their business is playing a service role in terms of spreading the word about the benefits of organics. They employ two part-time staff who also share their values and are in the process of moving the business out of home in order to maintain more work-family balance. Green Man Brewery crafts beers using organic ingredients, and offers a bottle return and reuse service. It operates a micro-brewery in a small Dunedin street and now sells to Australia as well as all over New Zealand. The business employs a full time brewmaster and two part time employees as well as the founder. They have won national recognition for a few of their beers which are styled on traditional varieties such a as Radler, Stout, Pilsner and Lager. NZ Essence was started by two friends who were looking for a business opportunity and saw a gap in the market for natural skincare and body products. Started in 2007, recently one partner bought the other out and is continuing operating out of the ecopreneurs home. The owner has strong beliefs about what she will and won’t produce and sell, but is also mindful that if the company does not begin to make a profit shortly she may have to abandon it. She and her husband have two young children. Focus – Sustainable Commercial Cleaning is a cleaning company that has social objectives as well as environmental and financial. The company has 20 employees and was started in 2005. Later the founder brought on an additional partner to help run the company. Both partners have other businesses they operate as well. The company turns over in excess of $1 million and is profitable. Totel was founded in 2007. The owner saw a gap in the market for design-focused shopper bags that are sold in supermarkets to attempt to replace plastics carrier bags. Since starting, the market has become very competitive and this has meant Totel has had to look into diversifying into other related products. The business is run from home and does not employ anyone else at this stage. Green Cabs has grown substantially since it was started in 2005. The owner was originally quite sceptical about climate change until he saw Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. After this, he started thinking about taxi travel and ways it could be made more environmentally friendly. The company now employs 15 people, as well as a number of franchisees (drivers). Part of the company’s profits are invested in tree planting in developing nations – something the owner sees as a way to offset the company’s carbon emissions. Fernbird Eco store sells a range of products for the home that are eco-friendly. The business was started by a couple from their in 2005. The owner who has primary responsibility for the business was working full-time and has only recently quit her job to focus full-time on the business. While the company employs only one person at the moment, there are plans to grow the company by targeting corporate markets. Hybrid House is a consultancy business primary involved with architecture services. It is a husband and wife team and currently employs people on contract but in the past has employed up to five people. Established 20 years

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ago, it was after completing a Masters in sustainable design that the practice moved to be offering “sustainable design” and has since won architecture awards for sustainable building projects. Waitaki Honey is an organic honey producer based in the Waitaki Valley. The company operates as a supplier for products that contain organic honey not a retailer and has significant contracts with overseas companies including Dr Hauschka and turnover over $1million. The husband and wife took over the family honey businesses and turned organic as it sat with their values and was a lucrative market – especially from Europe. They employ three workers on the farm who all have their own hives as part of the job. Earthly Delights operates in Christchurch selling worm farms and worms all over New Zealand. The owner is passionate about worms and worm farming and has contracts to educate community groups, schools and interested citizens about the benefits of worm farms. The business began in 2005 and while there is still just the founder she struggles to keep up with the demand. Serra Foods produces high quality yoghurt and yoghurt products (over 2/3 of the range is organic) made in a traditional style. The yoghurt is found in most supermarkets in New Zealand under the brand name of “Cyclops” and in 2008 the company began shipping frozen yoghurt to the USA. The founder now employs 14 people in the Christchurch factory which operates with many sustainable practices. Last year Serra Foods started collecting its own plastic containers (plastic nos. 5) from customers to encourage councils to increase their recycling operations. Puna Flax paper is a small manufacturer of flax paper from home in Dunedin. The business processes include looking after the flax bushes in various places around the city and harvesting that flax to be mulched into high quality paper. The paper is old throughout New Zealand often in tourist shops and also is used by businesses as gifts or for company paper.

Country context Before presenting the findings, it is important to explain the setting for the study as this potentially has an impact on the findings. This recognizes that the participants in our study are socially embedded in a particular country context, which has a potentially strong impact on both their motivations for ecopreneurship and the conclusions we draw. New Zealand is a country of small to medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are those with 19 or fewer employees (Ministry of Economic Development, 2007). New Zealand is also widely regarded as being highly entrepreneurial compared to other countries (Frederick and Chittock, 2006). With respect to entrepreneurial motivations, GEM found New Zealand to have the highest percentage of opportunity entrepreneurs of all 35 participating countries, suggesting that entrepreneurs are primarily pulled into entrepreneurship rather than pushed into it (necessity entrepreneurs) (Frederick and Chittock, 2006). This high level of entrepreneurship (particularly opportunity entrepreneurs) may impact on the findings because of the high number of people who are open to entrepreneurship. New Zealand also has a reputation of being “clean and green” and this is important to the study of ecopreneurship (for a more extensive explanation of New Zealand’s

environmental climate with respect to entrepreneurship, see de Bruin and Lewis, 2005). One of the key branding images used by the New Zealand Tourism Board is of being 100 per cent pure. Such by-lines are accompanied by images depicting the “pristine” natural environment of New Zealand. The branding and image of a clean green country is argued to be “strongly embedded in the cultural imagination” (Coyle and Fairweather, 2005, p. 148). As such it is not just the tourism board and export brands that rely on the clean green image but it is also a significant part of a national identity (Bell, 1996; Dew, 1999). Such an image requires careful preservation. A report commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment quantifies the clean green image for the New Zealand economy. It concludes that the green image is worth millions of dollars for exports in terms of the value it adds to products and services (Ministry for the Environment, 2001). 4. Presentation of findings The ecopreneurs in this study were motivated to start their own business by a number of factors. These revolved around five common drivers. As indicated in Table II, three motivators were apparent in seven cases (half the sample): (1) their green values; (2) identifying a gap in the market; and (3) making a living. Two related motivators were evident in six cases: (1) being their own boss; and (2) passion. The following sections present verbatim quotes from the participants on the five key motivators found in this study. Following this, a discussion around the inter-relationship between the motivators is presented. This is due to the observation (see Table II) that in all but one case, participants described their motivations for starting the business as being the result of more than one factor. Green values A key motivator for half of the ecopreneurs was their underlying green values. These green values often worked in combination with the ecopreneur seeing a gap in the market. The ecopreneurs in this study would not engage in the exploitation of market opportunities at the expense of their green values. They would certainly not exploit a gap in the market for a product or service that they did not believe was sustainable. The following quotes illustrate three ecopreneur’s motivations for starting their businesses:
1 Be own boss Gap in market Passion Make a living Green values 2 3 U U U U U U 4 U U 5 U U U 6 U U 7 8 9 U U U 10 11 12 U U U U U U U U U 13 14 Total 6 7 6 7 7

What motivates ecopreneurs?





Table II. Primary motivators for each case company

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I sat there watching all the taxis come and drop people off and thought about the emissions and everything they were producing. [I thought] there’s got to be a better way than this (participant 8). It’s a way of life really. It’s really a lifestyle; it’s a way of life decision to operate this way. It’s a deliberate one (participant 11).


These excerpts from two of the participants show their conscious decision to do things differently in their businesses compared to what was currently on offer in the market; and in the second example, differently to what they had been doing in the past. Similarly, another participant discussed the way the green side of the business “gave meaning to the business” (participant 12). Interestingly, a number of the participants described their green motivations as being tied to their monetary motivations. Two examples illustrate this:
50 percent my set of values and 50 percent financial because it was worth us doing it, you know? (participant 14). Well a business is an organization designed for profit and a cause is motivated by changing the world and I’ve just melded the two. I don’t see it as separate. I think, you know they’re one in the same (participant 13).

Both of these participants indicate the interrelationship between their motivations for becoming ecopreneurs. Additionally the ecopreneurs were strongly motivated by spreading their green values to others. They were motivated to spread the word about their business and environmentalism in a number of different forums. Much of this occurs through educational strategies that ecopreneurs operate as core to their business. They do this through web sites, visiting markets and expos, and word of mouth. Word of mouth should not be underestimated, with some customers acting as “disciples” and selling the product or service to their friends. The ecopreneurs placed great importance on younger generations being more aware of environmental concerns. For example, five ecopreneurs saw that Generation Y was more environmentally conscious and aware than older generations. In one case, children drove the decision to eat organic food and asked their parents to change their purchasing behaviour. Others sought to educate people directly, seeing this as an important part of their role. For example, one offered “education programmes to sustain those key values because it’s about putting back as well as taking” (participant 10). One ecopreneur had a contract from local government to provide environmental education in schools. Others targeted these young people who they saw as particularly open to their products, attempting to “try to excite the emerging green consumer” (participant 13). While a further seven ecopreneurs did not mention their green values as being a motivating factor for their business start-up, it is evident that their underlying green values have a major influence on the type of business they started. That is, these remaining participants started eco-businesses and many of their practices were environmentally focused, but green values were not necessarily the key motivator for them in starting the business. Perhaps more importantly than at the time of business start-up, these green values appear to be held as a top priority in the ongoing management of the business (see future research questions in Section 6).

Gap in the market Half of the participants stated they saw a gap in the market for a particular eco-friendly product or service. The following two excerpts from participants illustrate their perception of these gaps in the market:
The first thing I did was I started an [type of] business because I thought there was a sort of need in that market (participant 6). With this business it was an opportunity I guess. . .natural products were growing worldwide (participant 5).

What motivates ecopreneurs?


These examples are classic cases of entrepreneurs seeing market imperfections and viewing these gaps as an opportunity to start a new venture. For another ecopreneur, the gap in the market was more closely aligned with their expertize and interest:
To me it was just a glaring gap, it was something I was interested in and could do (participant 3).

For another ecopreneur, business was more user-driven:
As a family, we’re very environmentally friendly and it was really frustrating because there was nothing available (participant 9).

In this example, the ecopreneur had identified a personal need that was currently unmet in the market and that spurred her to start the business. Interestingly, none of these participants had prior experience in the industries in which they started their businesses. In fact, their work experience was totally unrelated. The gap in the market was identified through their awareness of environmental issues rather than purely commercially-based opportunity recognition. These findings mirror the few existing studies on ecopreneurs’ motivations which show ecopreneurs taking advantage of market imperfections and opportunities (Cohen and Winn, 2007; Freimann et al., 2005). They also highlight examples where ecopreneurs started a business as a response to the market failing to deal with negative externalities (Pastakia, 1998). Ecopreneurs exhibited typical entrepreneurial behaviours in terms of opportunity recognition. Interestingly they did not tend to have prior experience in the area in which they started the business, as prior studies of entrepreneurs in general have found to be most common (Terjersen, 2005). Making a living For other ecopreneurs (seven cases), monetary motivations were apparent. They spoke very little about being profit-driven but more about wanting to earn a living or cover their costs. Two ecopreneurs explain their views further:
Neither Tim or I are particular profit driven so it’s not like we’d looking to extract every single profit from an organization so we would be looking at covering costs and making a living and that would be it (participant 3). The business is incidental in a way. It’s simply a word to describe the way we earn a living. . .there’s this tendency to sort of categorize business as being, you know this ugly monster, you know the elephant in the rainbow, nobody wants to talk about it, it’s an ugly thing that if you’re in business, you must be a greedy little maximizer. But in fact it’s simply the way we earn a living (participant 11).

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The second of these two examples highlights the view the ecopreneur has of other people’s perceptions of business. He is almost apologetic for the fact that the couple own a business in order to make their living. In another case, one ecopreneur’s motivations were more clearly focused on profit. This participant decided to start a business to avoid the financial pitfalls of working for another company:
Basically it was financial for us. They weren’t paying until nearly the next season’s crop. They were paying us in December for what we produced in January so I decided to, that I could do better than that (participant 14).


In all of the cases where ecopreneurs talked about financial motivations, none mentioned a desire to make a large profit. It is important to note that many stated they were definitely “not profit driven”. In fact, the business just had to make enough money to be sustainable and support their families and lifestyle. Be their own boss Six ecopreneurs mentioned that they wanted to be their own boss and own a business. These ecopreneurs all had a pre-existing desire to own their own business. Four examples show this succinctly:
Owning my own business is something that I wanted to do (participant 3). I’ve always been interested in, you know, developing a business (participant 9). I’d always been interested in being self-employed (participant 5). I decided I wanted to do something for myself (participant 6).

These quotes infer that being ones’ own boss and owning a business was important to these ecopreneurs. The first three examples show this motivation was something which they had held over time. This finding shares some parallels with those found in a related study on associative entrepreneurs. That study found independence from the National Grid to be a factor in the case of renewable energy entrepreneurs (Cato et al., 2008). Another two examples show the decision to start a business was one they made as a couple:
We sort of just liked [idea of being] self-employed in a business (participant 12). We were looking for a business to start . . . We’d been in businesses before . . . we just couldn’t work for other people (participant 4).

These two quotes from participants offer another interesting insight into the motivations of ecopreneurs. In our study, three businesses could be classed as being copreneurial (couples working in the business together). For these participants, their motivation for starting their business was a joint one with their spouse, and shows the connectivity of the ecopreneur with their families. While six ecopreneurs were motivated by being their own boss, a further eight were not. It is important to illustrate their views as comparison cases. Two ecopreneurs however showed a contrary view and were not pulled into entrepreneurship by a desire to be their own boss. One explained “No, I was scared of working for myself. I just didn’t know how people could

do it. So much risk” (participant 8). In this example, the ecopreneur saw a gap in the market and as illustrated by this excerpt, it obviously took higher priority than wanting to own a business. In another case, the participant wanted a career shift:
I was looking perhaps to change jobs but wasn’t necessarily to have my own business (participant 7).

What motivates ecopreneurs?

These two cases indicate that independence-related motivators did not appear to be as important as other motivators such as seeing a gap in the market and identifying a need for their product or service. This took priority over a desire to start a business. In fact, it is questionable whether these ecopreneurs would have started a business if they had already located existing competitors in that market. Passion Related to their green values, six participants spoke of the passion they had for the business and the products or services they offered for sale. Statements such as “I’ve really got a real passion for it” (participant 9) and “I was so passionate about [business]” (participant 8) were common. Another participant expands on the role of passion in her motivations for starting the business:
I was passionate about making this journey something I wanted to enjoy. . . To look after the [raw material] (participant 10).


This example shows the participants’ passion was with the natural, raw material which went into the product. This example shows that passion may be closely linked to the ecopreneurs’ strong underlying green values. This parallels prior work from New Zealand (on three cases) which shows passion for the “green cause” to be a primary goal of ecopreneurs (de Bruin and Lewis, 2005). The ecopreneurs in this study were passionate about the environment and wanted to play a part in reducing environmental degradation. They also had a similar passion for their product or service and this illustrates the close linkage between this passion and the ecopreneurs’ green values. In fact it may be difficult to separate the two motivators (passion and green values) in the case of ecopreneurs. Relative importance/relationship between motivators In summary, we found five main motivators for starting a business; although Table II indicates a wide range of combinations of factors for each participant. The findings detailed above led us to support authors who have found that various ecopreneurs have different motivations (Keogh and Polonsky, 1998). The participants described being motivated to start their business by between one and four motivators. Specifically, eight ecopreneurs were motivated by two motivators; three were motivated by three factors; two were motivated by two factors; and finally, one ecopreneur had a single motivation for entering business. Motivations for business ownership in general have often been described as complex and intertwined (Mallon and Cohen, 2001) and the findings from this study of ecopreneurs are no exception. While the motivations for ecopreneurship are intertwined, our findings do not allow us to rank-order the motivations in terms of their importance. Other researchers have noted the difficulty in assessing the magnitude of each motivation (Shane et al., 2003). Further research of a quantitative nature may be able to clarify this (see RQ2 in section 6). With a larger sample, it would be interesting to explore patterns of motivation (as shown in Table II) to further understand the relationship between motivators.

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Like Pastakia (1998), we conclude that the boundaries between ecopreneurs’ social and commercial motivations are blurred. While the ecopreneurs are in business for the purposes of profit-making they appear to have strong social motivations, in the form of their green values, which underpin many of their other motivations. Similarly, our findings parallel Cohen and Winn’s (2007) study, which found that ethical reasons are often not the only motivations for starting a business – there were a wider range of motivators. Sustainability and independence were found to be key motivators for renewable energy entrepreneurs, while monetary motivators were less important (Cato et al., 2008). Not only are social and commercial boundaries blurred, but we posit that these ecopreneurs exhibit similarly blurred boundaries between themselves and the environment. This may be similar to Cato et al.’s (2008) study on associative entrepreneurs, who work in co-operative type businesses. These blurred boundaries highlight the importance of our theoretical framework in focusing on a sociological perspective for the study – whereby ecopreneurs are embedded in a wider perspective. Thus, we conclude that studying ecopreneurs requires such a sociological perspective, rather than much of the traditional entrepreneurship literature that has focused on economic and psychological viewpoints. This leads to the question of whether ecopreneurs are similar or different to the general population of entrepreneurs in terms of their motivations. 5. Are ecopreneurs’ motivations similar to entrepreneurs? This section summarizes the findings and compares and contrasts them with the extant literature on entrepreneurial motivations and on ecopreneurship (if research exists). Table III illustrates these similarities and differences. In terms of comparisons between these ecopreneurs and entrepreneurs in general, independence is usually the highest ranking motivating factor. Independence-related motivators are generally pull factors for entrepreneurship, and are often considered to be a universal factor in people choosing entrepreneurial careers (Pinfold, 2001). Note that none of the ecopreneurs in this study used the term “independent”, as they tended not to have similar types of job dissatisfaction that other entrepreneurs had (shown in Table III). Prior studies of entrepreneurs have found that job dissatisfaction is a key motivating factor for leaving paid employment (Honig-Haftel and Marin, 1986) and this translates into their desire to be independent from a boss or a job. In wider research on entrepreneurs, many studies have found making money to be a high-level motivator. While many of the participants in the current study were still motivated by money (earning a living), we argue that there is an important difference between these ecopreneurs and traditional entrepreneurs. As noted in the literature review and indicated in Table III, money is often a factor in wanting to start a business. We argue that entrepreneurs may be more inclined to want to earn a profit or to generate wealth than the ecopreneurs we observed (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003). This lower prioritization of money was also the case in associative entrepreneurs, where financial achievement was less important than factors such as independence (Cato et al., 2008). First, green values emerged as a key reason why these ecopreneurs started a business. The difference between these ecopreneurs and entrepreneurs may be that when entrepreneurs view opportunities in growing markets for eco-friendly goods, they start a business without necessarily holding strong green values. As Table III

Motivator Green values

Ecopreneurs in this study There must be a better way Sustainability Educating others

Prior studies of entrepreneurs

What motivates ecopreneurs?

Gap in market Observe a gap in market Opportunity recognition (Hakim, 1989) See the need for a product or service (user-based) See a growing market Money Independence Make a living Provide for family Profit/wealth generation (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003)


Be own boss Do something for self, or as Desire independence and autonomy (often from a job) a couple (Carter et al., 2003; DeMartino and Barbato, 2003) Passion for the environment Passion for business (de Bruin and Lewis, 2005, in a Passion for their product or study on green entrepreneurs) service Work-family balance (Kirkwood and Tootell, 2008) Flexibility with childcare (Kirkwood and Tootell, 2008)


Family-related Lifestyle motivators Copreneurs making joint decisions Provide for family Work-related motivators

Job/career dissatisfaction (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003) Dissatisfaction with a boss (Kirkwood, 2004) Difficulty finding employment (Hakim, 1988; Hakim, 1989) Redundancy (Borooah et al., 1997)

Note: The idea for this table was gained from Cato et al.’s (2008) comparison of associative entrepreneurs and concepts around entrepreneurship

Table III. Comparison of findings with the extant entrepreneurship literature

shows, no similar findings have found this to be a factor in motivations for entrepreneurship in general. This difference was not unexpected, and may be the case for two reasons. First, ecopreneurs appear to have very strong green values that drive their decision to become entrepreneurs. That is, ecopreneurs may be quite different to other entrepreneurs – although this would only be uncovered by undertaking comparative research. The second reason why green values have not emerged in research on entrepreneurial motivations is due to the primary method used in motivations research. The majority of such research has used quantitative surveys to enquire about motivations for starting a business. In such cases, green values would be unlikely to be included on survey forms as an “option” for survey participants. Likewise, in studies of entrepreneurs in general, passion has not been widely studied – which could be due to similar methodological factors. While this discussion shows a different motivator (green values) for ecopreneurs that has not previously been uncovered, and variations on other common motivators, the list of case companies displayed previously shows the ecopreneurs did not discuss being motivated by family or work-related factors. The participants did not mention

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being motivated by their families a great deal. However, for the three copreneurial businesses whose motivations for starting their business were made together, the link to their family is strong. This highlights the sociological perspective discussed at the beginning of the paper, whereby participants’ embeddedness in their surroundings is an important factor in entrepreneurship. In other prior studies of entrepreneurs, people have been found to be motivated by a desire to balance their work and families (Kirkwood and Tootell, 2008). While it may initially seem perplexing not to find this in the current study, we suggest it may be that these ecopreneurs already had a good work-family balance prior to entering entrepreneurship, so they did not see it as a primary reason to start their own business. In addition, it was difficult to distinguish solid boundaries between the business and the person. This was evident particularly in the ecopreneurs who operated their businesses from home (8 cases). Additionally, another significant difference between entrepreneurs in general and these ecopreneurs is that they did not appear to suffer from job and career dissatisfaction to any extent. This is generally a positive finding, as factors relating to work are often classed as factors which push people into entrepreneurship. The absence of such job dissatisfaction means that other motivators (primarily pull factors) drew the ecopreneurs into business, and these pull motivators are known to have a more successful outcome for entrepreneurs (Amit and Muller, 1995). In summary, we tentatively conclude from our exploratory study that ecopreneurs may have relatively similar motivations to the wider population of entrepreneurs, as has been the case in other studies of associative entrepreneurs (Cato et al., 2008). However, there are still many unanswered questions, and some specific research questions are suggested next. 6. Future research questions While this research has uncovered some answers about the motivations of ecopreneurs, further research would allow the findings to be better understood and to be more generalizable. We pose the following questions: RQ1. What motivates people to become ecopreneurs? RQ2. Which motivators are most important to ecopreneurs? RQ3. What is the impact of founders’ green values on starting (and running) a business? RQ4. Do these motivations differ from the general population of entrepreneurs? How? A logical extension of our work on motivations for starting an ecopreneurial business would be to propose that ecopreneurs who are motivated by their green values, continue to run their business using these values. Thus, their initial motivations for starting the business guide their subsequent decisions within the business. Others have suggested motivations “influence the transition of individuals from one stage of the entrepreneurial process to another” (Shane et al., 2003, p. 275). This appeared to be particularly apparent around decisions such as employing others, and growth and diversification into other markets. It also affected the way they perceived internationalization issues such as importing and exporting. Exploring these ongoing business decisions is beyond the scope of this research

study, as the majority of businesses had only been in operation for one or two years. Two broad questions emerge as relevant. How do ecopreneurs balance their green values and profit objectives? And how do their motivations affect their growth aspirations? RQ5. How do ecopreneurs manage their business while retaining their green values? There appears to be a potential tension between the two which could impact on decision making and practices within the company. RQ6. What strategies do ecopreneurs employ for balancing these tensions? RQ7. What makes it possible for green values to be retained and valued? RQ8. Do green values change over the life cycle of the business and the life of the ecopreneur? If so, how? RQ9. What views do ecopreneurs have on growing their business? RQ10. Do any of the tensions outlined above limit their growth intentions? RQ11. What do ecopreneurs define as success in terms of their business? We believe this might be quite different to many other entrepreneurs and this would be useful to understand. While it is beyond the scope of this exploratory research, our findings open up the emerging dialogue that ecopreneurship may represent a new business paradigm. Our view at the outset of this study was that ecopreneurship is a subset of entrepreneurship. This was shown in Table III, which indicates a large overlap with our findings and those of wider entrepreneurship studies. However, the ecopreneurs in this study appear to have significantly wider motivations than merely exploiting a niche market. This was evident in the strong focus the ecopreneurs in this study had on their green values and the related education awareness-raising roles they undertook – not only regarding their product or service but significantly wider issues of environmental concern. Thus, our view is that they may represent a shifting paradigm in terms of the way businesses operate. Further work around the research questions above (particularly numbers 5-11) will shed more light on this proposition. 7. Conclusion The outcomes of this study are twofold. First, we add empirical data to the worldwide literature on ecopreneurs. The 14 case companies is one of the largest samples of ecopreneurs that have been studied to date and the resulting empirical findings offer new insights into this under-researched type of entrepreneur. Theoretical contributions to the ecopreneurship and entrepreneurship literature were also made which add to our understanding of ecopreneurs’ motivations for starting new businesses. In addition, the extensive list of future research opportunities helps to advance the field of ecopreneurship, which we argue is going to grow in significance as environmental awareness increases. Within the entrepreneurial motivation literature reviewed at the start of this paper, it was noted that push-pull theory is the primary way of categorizing entrepreneurs’ motivations. When applying this categorization to the participants of our study, the following became apparent: these ecopreneurs could all be classed as being pulled into

What motivates ecopreneurs?


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business ownership rather than being pushed into it. This is important because entrepreneurship works best if it is an individual initiative (Sriram et al., 2007). This may be highly significant, as studies have concluded that those entrepreneurs who start businesses with pull factors are more financially successful in ongoing business (Amit and Muller, 1995). This bodes well for the ecopreneurs in the longer term, especially when considered alongside their strong green values, passion for their product or service, and their relatively low monetary motivations. There are undoubtedly limitations to this study. The most apparent is the small number of case studies, although this is due to the limited understanding of ecopreneurs and the need for initial qualitative research to develop further research questions. Additionally, the setting of the study is a potential limitation. The results of this study may be country specific. Prior research found New Zealanders were primarily pulled into entrepreneurship rather than pushed into it (Frederick and Chittock, 2006). This high level of entrepreneurship (particularly opportunity entrepreneurs) may impact on the findings because of the high number of people who are open to entrepreneurship. Similarly, the country context in terms of its reputation for being clean and green may also make ecopreneuership a more viable option than in other countries.
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