Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Resilient Business Models for Sustainability Entrepreneuring

Stories from Wallmapu, Abya Yala

Published onJun 21, 2023
Resilient Business Models for Sustainability Entrepreneuring
Ieva Žebrytė1,*,+
PhD in Management student at the ISM University of Management and Economics, Lithuania * [email protected] Currently, Independent Lecturer and Researcher based in the EU; formerly, with the Universidad de La Frontera, Chile.

Extended abstract

On ecosystems scale, “Resilience is <…> necessary but not sufficient for Sustainability” (Espiner et al., 2017, p. 11, emphasis added). Consequently, how business and community resilience processes interact with one another to enable Sustainability Entrepreneuring? Research presented in this submission hinges on Social-ecological Systems (SES) thinking and Entrepreneurship as Practice (EaP) approach, both connected through Relational Paradigm applied to Sustainability Entrepreneuring research. Further, as SES suggests, entrepreneuring research requires relational approach with multiple multi-scale units of analysis and their interrelations subjected to purview simultaneously (Žebrytė, 2022).

As a researcher I enact the said approach through relating to the process in interdisciplinary, international, intersectional, intercultural manner and by enabling and empowering research participants to co-create knowledge, rather than “share it” with me and the world. Further, empathy and equity are the elements which form the matrix which guides me in my relation to the research field, as the Wester tradition of knowledge creation (science) mandates (Charmaz, 2014).

Resilience here is understood as capabilities to anticipate, absorb and adapt to business disruptions thus maintaining basic structure and function of a business, organizational or community (social-territorial) unit (loosely based on Powley et al., 2020). Sustainability Entrepreneuring practices of value creation and exchange, aimed at mitigating the impact of a disaster or ensuing crisis thereby augmenting business and community resilience are practices that allow us to cope with societal needs as they arise in distinct contexts and moments in time (echoing Johannisson, 2011, 2018). Finally, ‘Entrepreneuring Ecosystems’ are understood in this submission as “creative organizing” time-spaces which are inhabited by individual and collective agents interacting through business practices, which are built in and around places and territories: creative organizing contexts (“creative organizing” and “organizing contexts” are used here as per Johannisson, 2011 and 2018).

In previous research, the complexity of intertwined [social] practices of entrepreneuring and their relational, material and processual nature, was obviated or touched upon as ‘mere context’ (Žebrytė et al., 2019 & 2021). Business and community resilience processes are produced through practices which play out within the social-ecological systems. To capture that, in this submission, I embrace modular, reflective and critical thinking in social enquiry (Mees-Buss et al. 2022).

What is referred to in the Western Scholarship as ‘collection of primary data’ was, in fact, ‘practice stories’ told by four members of the Mapuche Tourism Society of La Araucanía (part of Wallmapu, Abya Yala). Other sources of data were GEM NES 2019, 2020 and 2021 qualitative data collected through open questions. The views of Mapuche Tourism Society of La Araucanía and some other Indigenous business leaders and representatives within the studied SES were also reflected in the answers to the said open questions. Data analysis was conducted through reflexive discussions with Indigenous scholars. Evidence of the process is available in the presentations by Matus and Žebrytė (2021) and Žebrytė and Lefiman (2021). The SES which I studied was La Araucanía region of the Chilean territory of Wallmapu.

The World Economic Forum (2020, 2021) reports highlight the rise of vulnerability across Chilean territories following the Social Uprising and across all countries under the COVID19 Pandemic. More than 30% of the population is economically vulnerable and income inequality remains high. Due to Social Upheaval (movement against inequality and structural barriers to equity), GDP growth decreased from 3.9% in 2018 to 1.1% in 2019 (World Bank, 2020). Likewise, according to the GEM report on effects of COVID19 Pandemic on entrepreneurship [promotion] policy, long-term survival rate even of established enterprises is “not favourable” (Amorós et al., 2020, p. 51).

Indigenous Youth and Women are underrepresented in the workforce (Observatorio Laboral La Araucanía, 2018, 2019, 2020). Life circumstances push them into entrepreneurship unprepared and unprotected from discrimination (Guerrero & Serey, 2019). It is widely known that the scope and scale of business activity impacts on the (i) ability to produce innovative business models (Di Giminiani, 2018), and (ii) resilience capabilities which are important for vulnerability reduction (Runyan, 2006). Indigenous populations are disproportionately affected by the COVID19 Pandemic (IEII UFRO, 2020, 2021) and other disruptions as they occur (Žebrytė et al., 2019 & 2021). Several consecutive GEM Chile reports show that La Araucanía’s population expresses higher level of fear of failure, compared to the Chilean averages. It means that the population perceived their SES as vulnerable. This might be because La Araucania is the region with the most vulnerable demographic due to unresolved issue of recognition of Indigenous peoples and other structural issues accounted for in the GEM regional report by Guerrero and Serey (2019) with the data from 2018.

So, it is in this broader international and national context that through this submission I am sharing the resilience practice stories from Wallmapu (La Araucanía), Abya Yala (the Americas), as results of an in-depth multiple case-study conducted under epistemological approach of Relational Paradigm (Walsh et al., 2021), and ontological underpinnings of the Theory of Practice applied to SES (Johannisson, 2011 and 2018; Theodoraki et al., 2022). The stories are about leveraging collaborations and using the strength of Indigenous values and principles of practice to weather the disaster of the COVID19 Pandemic by: (i)  co-owner-manager of the family business “Ruka Inaleufu”, accommodation, cultural tours and Mapuche gastronomy service business; (ii) co-owner-manager of the family business restaurant “Margarita”, Lafkenmapu; (iii) owner of Curaco Gourmet, Mapuche gastronomy business; and (iv) owner of “Pewma”, Mapuche Jeweler. All women form part of the network of Māori & Mapuche Indigenous women entrepreneurs. Their businesses are members of the Sociedad Turismo Mapuche La Araucania A.G. There are many other Mapuche Women Entrepreneurs who are worth mentioning. They build their business-to-community resilience through Indigenous values in their business practices. Overall, it is the Mapuche Women who build their business models on the intersection between Agri-foods and Tourism value chains. They enact business models through harmonizing culture and collaboration practices.

The contribution of this submission lies in the empirically co-created knowledge which contradicts the understanding of entrepreneurial action as “an informed and intentional process” (p. 117, Morris & Kuratko, 2020). During a disaster event, such as COVID19 Pandemic, emerging economy entrepreneurs operating in a disaster threatened communities, who engage in entrepreneuring to regenerate their culture, the environment and prevent a crisis or mitigate the effects of a disaster event, constantly negotiate outcomes of their actions and omissions, they improvise, albeit within a range of practices imagined as possible or available to them. The practice stories of empowerment, enablement, equity and empathy values translate into business and community (SES) resilience processes, where intercultural, intersectional, interdisciplinary and international collaborations are a key operational principle (Žebrytė, 2022). As evidenced by the practice stories of Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs of the Mapuche Tourism Society of La Araucanía, I propose that entrepreneuring practices are key in resilience processes, such as reduction of vulnerability of an entire SES. Looking at the business and community resilience and its role in Sustainable Development processes through the practice lens constitutes a valuable perspective on sustainable entrepreneuring ecosystems (Theodoraki et al., 2022; Walsh et al., 2020).


Resilient Business Models, Sustainability Entrepreneuring, Entrepreneuring Ecosystems of Abya Yala.

Acknowledgements and financing

The author of the submission is a 6th year part-time PhD in Management students at the ISM University of Management and Economics, in Vilnius, Lithuania. The data for this research was collected under the auspices of the Department of Management and Economics at the Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, Chile, specifically its research project DFP20-0038 “Multi-scale model to improve resilience of MSMEs and local communities to disasters”. Preliminary findings were presented at the ICSB’s 1st WEconference “Youth Women Entrepreneurs” section. This part of research was sponsored by Sociedad Turismo Mapuche La Araucanía ( and draws on the author’s experience of “Participación del Diálogo de Turismo Indígena de las Américas de la OEA” proyecto de extensión académica sin financiamiento de la Universidad de La Frontera EXS21-0177. Thank you to Milton Almonacid, Héctor Jorquera and Javier Lefiman for inspiration and guidance. Finally, thank you Elizabeth, Ginette, Letty and Nathaly for participating in telling the world your practice stories your way.


Amorós, J.E., Guerrero, M. & Naranjo-Priego, E.E. (2020) COVID-19 Impacts on Entrepreneurship: Chile and Mexico. In Ionescu-Somers, A. & Tarnawa, A. (eds.) Diagnosing COVID-19 Impacts on Entrepreneurship Exploring policy remedies for recovery. GEM and Shopify. Available from:

Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory. Sage.

Di Giminiani, P. (2018). Entrepreneurs in the making: indigenous entrepreneurship and the governance of hope in Chile. Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, 13(3), 259-281.

Espiner, S., Orchiston, C., & Higham, J. (2017). Resilience and sustainability: A complementary relationship? Towards a practical conceptual model for the sustainability–resilience nexus in tourism. Journal of sustainable tourism, 25(10), 1385-1400.

Guerrero, M., & Serey, T. (2019) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Reporte Regiones de Chile 2018. Santiago: Universidad del Desarrollo.

Guerrero, M., & Serey, T. (2020) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Reporte Nacional de Chile 2019. Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile. Available from:

Guerrero, M., & Serey, T. (2021) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Reporte Nacional de Chile 2020. Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile. Available from:

Guerrero, M., Serey, T. & Yáñez-Valdés, C. (2022) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Reporte Nacional de Chile 2021. Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile. Available from:

Johannisson, B. (2011). Towards a practice theory of entrepreneuring. Small business economics, 36(2), 135-150.

Matus, S. & Žebrytė, I. (2021, July) Joint Keynote Speech on “Regenerating and Resilience-building Practices by Indigenous Womenpreneurs of the Americas”, 65th World Congress International Council for Small Business hybrid (Paris, Whova and Zoom), 12-16 of July.

Mees-Buss, J., Welch, C. and Piekkari, R. (2022), From Templates to Heuristics: How and Why to Move Beyond the Gioia Methodology, Organizational Research Methods, 25(2), 405-429.

Observatorio Laboral La Araucanía (2018) Turismo. Available from:

Observatorio Laboral La Araucanía (2019) Agroindustria. Available from:

Observatorio Laboral La Araucanía (2020) Empleo Juvenil en La Araucanía. Available from:

OECD (2019), OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2019, OECD Publishing, Paris. Available from:

OECD (2021), OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2021, OECD Publishing, Paris. Available from:

Powley, E. H., Caza, B. B., & Caza, A. (Eds.). (2020). Research Handbook on Organizational Resilience. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Runyan, R. C. (2006). Small business in the face of crisis: identifying barriers to recovery from a Natural Disaster. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 14(1), 12-26.

Theodoraki, C., Dana, L. P., & Caputo, A. (2022). Building sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems: A holistic approach. Journal of Business Research, 140, 346-360.

World Economic Forum (2020) The Global Risks Report 2020. Insight Report 15th Edition. In partnership with Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group. Switzerland.

World Economic Forum (2021) The Global Risks Report 2021. Insight Report 16th Edition. In partnership with Marsh McLennan, SK Group and Zurich Insurance Group. Switzerland.

Žebrytė, I. & Lefiman, J. (2021, April) “Resiliencia de negocios para el desarrollo sostenible: evidencias desde Turismo Mapuche en Wallmapu, Abya Yala”. [Business Resilience for Sustainable Development: evidence of Mapuche Tourism, Wallmapu, Abya Yala.] SOCIETUR, CLAIT and Universidad Austral de Chile “International Symposium of Scientific Research in Tourism”, virtual, Chile, 26-28 of April 2021.

Žebrytė, I. (2020, November) presented on “Indigenous. Youth. Women. Entrepreneurship. Resilience Stories from Wallmapu, Abya Yala.” at the ICSB WomenPreneurs Global Conference co-organized with GW Business School, virtual, November 16 and 17, 2020. Available from: (min. 39)

Žebrytė, I. (2022) Playbook para docentes en Emprendimiento Sostenible. Resultado del proyecto UFRO DID20-0009 “Technology-mediated decolonizing teaching-learning of Sustainable Entrepreneurship”. Available from:

Žebrytė, I., Fonseca-Vasquez, F. F., & Hartley, R. (2019) Emerging economy entrepreneurs and open data: Decision-making for natural disaster resilience. Journal of Small Business Strategy, 29(1), 36-47. Bradley University & Middle Tennessee State University. Available from:

Žebrytė, I., Partarrieu-Vistoso, M. & Traipi-Huilipan, N. (2022) Reporte GEM para la región de La Araucanía 2020-2021. [GEM Report for the [Chilean] La Araucanía Region 2020-2021.] Departamento Administración y Economía de la Universidad de La Frontera ( Temuco, Chile. (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for a subnational regional of Chile, technical report) Available from:

Žebrytė, I., Ramírez-Valdivia, M. & Bustos-Gomez, J. (2021) Knowledge for natural disaster-resilient businesses in emerging economies: a focus on decision-making by tourism entrepreneurs. Int. J. of Entrepreneurship and Small Business (IJESB), Vol. 43, No 1, pp.61-83. Inderscience, doi 10.1504/IJESB.2021.10034270

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?