In To Be an Entrepreneur, Julia Qermezi Huang focuses on Bangladesh's iAgent social-enterprise model, the set of economic processes that animate the delivery of this model, and the implications for women's empowerment. The book offers new ethnographic approaches that reincorporate relational economics into the study of social enterprise. It details the tactics, dilemmas, compromises, aspirations, and unexpected possibilities that digital social enterprise opens up for women entrepreneurs, and reveals the implications of policy models promoting women's empowerment: the failure of focusing on individual autonomy and independence.
While describing the historical and incomplete transition of Bangladesh's development models from their roots in a patronage-based moral economy to a market-based social-enterprise arrangement, Huang concludes that market-driven interventions fail to grasp the sociopolitical and cultural contexts in which poverty and gender inequality are embedded and sustained.
Introduction: Disruptive Development in Bangladesh
iAgent Megh's Story
1. Women's Work: The Arena of Disruption
2. Digital Technology: The Problems of (and Solutions to) Connectivity
iAgent Deepti's Story
3. The Making and Unmaking of Entrepreneurs
4. A Diversified Basket of Services
iAgent Ayrin's Story
5. Middle-Class Projects and the Development Moral Economy
6. The Ambiguous Figures of Social Enterprise