Uncovering the scaling of innovations developed by grassroots entrepreneurs in low-income settings

Marleen Wierenga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Low-income entrepreneurs operating in resource-scarce settings are typically referred to as subsistence entrepreneurs–informal, operating on a small scale, and selling products developed and produced by others. This study establishes the notion of a unique category of low-income entrepreneurs who have developed, commercialised, and scaled innovations and are self-employed by choice. Further, the paper investigates the scaling process of these innovative grassroots entrepreneurs. The sample consists of four grassroots entrepreneurs from India who founded an enterprise to sell their self-developed innovations. The study follows the grounded theory approach, which is suitable for the exploration of complex questions in unusual settings. The theoretical lens used in this study is entrepreneurial bricolage since the interest of the study lies in understanding action and the usage of existing resources. The contribution of the paper is twofold. First, it contributes to the literature on low-income entrepreneurship by bolstering the theoretical archetype of grassroots entrepreneurs and developing a process model for their scaling process. Second, the study contributes to the literature on bricolage by introducing the notion of grassroots bricolage as a behaviour to utilise and combine both locally available contacts and a broader network as resources in novel ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-90
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Issue number1-2
Early online date12 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bricolage
  • Grassroots entrepreneurs
  • low-income entrepreneurs
  • resource-scarcity
  • scaling

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