The role of sustainable purpose in today’s entrepreneurship : An empirical study
Abstract: Purpose of the study. This thesis deals with the role of sustainable purpose in the formation of sustainable start-ups. It aims to determine if sustainable purpose was a reason to start a company, what caused the emergence of sustainable purpose within the entrepreneurs, and how this purpose can benefit the enterprise. The study design. The study first defines sustainable purpose by juxtaposing selected concepts, models, and frameworks that aim to harmonize doing business and positive contribution to the planet and people. Based on that, we conducted semi-structured interviews with founders of sustainable start-ups (N=9). These were analysed via a qualitative content analysis and cross evaluation. Major findings. The findings were divided into six major categories. Interviewees contributed knowledge and opinion about their founding motivations, their source of sustainable purpose, how sustainable purpose benefits their business, what their view on sustainability is, what they criticise about today’s business world, and what the characteristics of themselves and their business are. Summary of interpretation. The collected data suggests that sustainable purpose was a reason for entrepreneurs to start a business that positively impacts society and the planet. Impactful life events influenced entrepreneurs to think critically about doing business and contributing to a better world. These impactful life events can be identified as the source of sustainable purpose within entrepreneurs. Lastly, entrepreneurs did identify benefits of having a sustainable purpose.
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