Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

First Advisor

Srinivas Venugopal

Second Advisor

Ante Glavas


Small business, entrepreneurship, social responsibility, sustainability, race, gender


This paper examines how various identities intersect and shape how entrepreneurs think about and engage with social responsibility through small businesses and entrepreneurship. Through semi-structured interviews, their rationale for creating positive impact in their community was better understood and compared against each other. Nuance around the intersecting identities and experiences of entrepreneurs in their professional and personal life were found.

At first glance, it did not appear that identity influenced how social responsibility was thought about and practiced by respondents. But under closer inspection, there were certain nuances in lower level themes and sources of motivation that were driven by experiences that were unique to certain personal identities, especially race and gender. Some of the major findings that pushed further thought were the influence of awareness, what drives salience of certain identities, how family and social responsibility were connected, and how varying experiences ultimately led to similarity among motivation and rationales among respondents. Applying these findings and points to ponder, entrepreneurs can start to think about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in their business, identity exploration, and self-work. This project has provided started to inject nuance on the role that identity has on entrepreneurs. By better understanding the impact of identities, awareness of challenges and biases around social entrepreneurship can be raised to effectively addressed the needs of customers & the world.


The full contents of this thesis are available only in the Environmental Program office.