Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Institute of Technology Tralee

First Advisor

Bríd McElligott


Richard Cantillon, who in 1734 introduced the term ‘entrepreneur’ into economic literature, described entrepreneurship as

‘‘Self-employment of any and every sort" (Long 1983 P 48)

Self-employment is entrepreneurship at its simplest form. According to O’Kane (1997) entrepreneurship is

“The dynamic process of creating wealth, undertaken hy people who assume a risk in terms of money, energy, time and/or career commitment, and creating value through the provision of some product or service. ” (O’Kane 1997 P 6)

Entrepreneurship is nothing new. Men without wealth have always been attracted by the prospect of attaining it and the opportunities, which it affords. (Bruce 1986).

A large proportion of the labour force would like to be their own boss. Self- employment presents an opportunity for the individual to set his own schedule. Entrepreneurs can work when they like, they answer to nobody and ultimately perhaps it is the way to become rich.

The entrepreneur is the key to the successful launch of any business. He perceives a market opportunity and has the motivation, drive and ability to mobilise resources to meet it.

Unfortunately on the downside, if the business fails it may take with it the entrepreneurs employment, their savings and their home.

Governments on the other hand frequently see entrepreneurship as a route out of poverty and disadvantage and for this reason the transition from unemployment to self-employment is seen as an answer to high unemployment levels.

Active labour market policies in many industrial countries aim

"To shift people out of the unemployment status and to reduce the level of unemployment" (Pfeiffer and Reize 1998 PI)

An individual’s decision to establish a business may depend on the attractiveness of the available alternatives for making a living.

In Ireland the transition from long term unemployment to self-employment is supported by Area Development Management Companies and Area Allowance Enterprise/ Back To Work Allowance Scheme.

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