Date of Conferral







Paul Frankenhauser


Microbusiness owners or informal entrepreneurs in developing countries make up 40 to 60% of the informal economy. With a steady increase in unemployment in rural areas of developing countries, individuals live under poverty levels and start microbusinesses as a mean to survive. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the factors that contribute to Haitian informal entrepreneurs' ability and motivation to transition into the formal sector. A narrative inquiry approach was used for this study to bring in-depth meaning to the experiences of informal entrepreneurs in Haiti. For this study, 18 individual interviews of Haitian or Haitian descendant microbusiness owners who resided in rural areas of Haiti were selected through purposeful random sampling. Seligman's theory of learned helplessness, Maslow's theory of motivation, and Lewin's theory of change were used as the framework to analyze the data. The findings of this study revealed that funding/financing, higher profit margins, stability, and the perception of success are factors that motivate informal entrepreneurs in rural areas of Haiti to formalize. The findings also indicated that Haitian informal entrepreneurs have the capability to transition but lack the ability to remain motivated. Security issues, uncertainty, lack of support, and competition are barriers experienced by all participants that hinder the ability to remain motivated. This study has the potential to influence government policies and create adequate support to informal entrepreneurs by understanding motivation factors and barriers. The findings of this study may also raise awareness on informal entrepreneurs in the context of least developed countries to encourage future studies.