Rights to Livelihood & Entrepreneurship

Rights to Livelihood & EntrepreneurshipPhoto: CLEP/UNDP

Micro-entrepreneurs, small business owners, vendors and others who are selfemployed – operating at varying degrees in the informal economy and outside of formal legal regulation and protection, lacking adequate access to the advantages of formal business and financial support systems – contribute significantly to the economy in many countries. But informality is often linked to legal and political vulnerability, which can limit opportunities for economic and social development at both the individual and community levels. Rights and protection required to support self-employment, start businesses and become a micro-entrepreneur – as derived from existing rights, including political, civil, economic and social ones – are essential for the livelihoods of the poor An effective legal system, local government institutions and services that are more open, accessible, accountable and have legitimacy, are key for a more inclusive society and empowerment of the poor.

There should, however, be no presumption that the poor only want to become entrepreneurs and that they are not risk averse. Micro-entrepreneurship and selfemployment is often not a question of choice, but a function of a lack of other options.