Beyond the phone number: Challenges of representing informal microenterprise on the Internet

  • Caribou Digital
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Micro-firms are important for creating jobs and income in developing economies, but these firms face significant constraints, some of which could be ameliorated through ICT. However, it remains unclear which specific ICT uses are intensively employed by different entrepreneurial micro-firms. Notwithstanding external constraints, we examined differences in ICT use by comparably sized micro-firms operating in the same environment that exhibit different entrepreneurial attributes (proactiveness, innovativeness, risk-taking, and growth orientation). Using data from Zambian micro-firms, our findings demonstrate that the four entrepreneurial attributes have a positive yet different influence on three individual categories of ICT use: information and network access; online transaction and interaction; and in-house operations. Indirectly, we pinpoint which ICT applications will likely benefit entrepreneurial firms. Our findings could help researchers and policy-makers to target specific categories of ICT use that drive firm growth and nurture the desirable business behavioral orientations for deploying technology in business.
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