Author: Maria Andrea L. Santiago

Year: 2019, Volume 28 No. 3
Pages: 34-46


Myanmar is one of the last frontiers in Asia and it provides an enormous investment opportunity, especially for diaspora Burmese who desire to re-establish their roots in their home country. This paper posits that returning diasporans who establish capital-intensive entrepreneur-led family firms in frontier economies would have a competitive advantage over non-family business owners, homegrown entrepreneurs, and foreign investors because they are endowed with a unique combination of social, human, financial, cultural, and informational capital. Even though the risks of investing in a frontier economy are high, the motivations to invest in the homeland go beyond the financial returns. This study of two Burmese returnee entrepreneurs with different profiles support earlier studies that suggest non-financial motivations are important drivers to diaspora direct investment. Non-financial motivations encompass sentimentality (nostalgia), a desire to share
one’s blessings (altruism), and an aspiration to be recognized for making a difference (social identity).

Keywords: Diaspora entrepreneurship, Asian family business, international strategy, returnee entrepreneurship, Myanmar
JEL Classifications: M01, L1