From Communal Entrepreneurship To International Networks: The Case Of The Chettiars In Asia

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



The Chettiars were pioneers in microfinancing in Asia. They began as communal entrepreneurs in their clan but grew beyond their domestic borders. Despite their smallness and resources, they were able to internationalize. This paper reports a study into their internationalization examining the manner they were able to successfully venture abroad. We found that their unique socio-cultural factors served as enabling factors for their internationalization. These include a family culture of training the sons for the business, embracing business best practices, replicating domestic social structures overseas and the Chettiar community abroad. The social structures extended overseas provided the social support network for Chettiars leaving their homes and the overseas Chettiar community provided the networks for international expansion.


microfinance, networks, international entrepreneurship


Asian Studies | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations

Research Areas

Strategy and Organisation; Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources


ICSB 56th World Conference, Stockholm, 15-18 June 2011


International Council for Small Business

City or Country

Stockholm, Sweden

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