Embedded Entrepreneurs and Post-Disaster Community Recovery

Entrepreneurs can and do play an important role in promoting community recovery after disasters. Research, however, has not adequately explored the behavior and practices of post-disaster entrepreneurs or acknowledged the role of entrepreneurs in overall disaster recovery. We attempt to fill this gap by highlighting the behavior and practices of entrepreneurs who contribute to recovery, specifically, we argue that post-disaster entrepreneurs: (a) supply needed resources to disaster victims, (b) leverage social capital to navigate extreme uncertainty, (c) are motivated by high place attachment, and (d) exhibit both commercial and social goals. They are able to successfully perform these functions because of the embedded nature of entrepreneurship. We offer evidence based on fieldwork conducted in New Orleans, Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina and following the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri.