Special Issue on ‘Digital Poverty Reduction Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation’

Management and Organization Review

Special Issue on Digital Poverty Reduction Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Guest Editors

Steven Si,1,2 Jeremy Hall,3 Victor Cui,4 David Ahlstrom,5 and Jiang Wei2 1Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania, US, 2Zhejiang University, China, 3University of Sussex, UK, 4University of Waterloo, Canada,
5The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

Submission Deadline: October 25, 2024

Special Issue Theme Background

Poverty reduction has become a core subject for researchers across the social sciences from economics to finance, management, and entrepreneurship (e.g., Alvarez & Barney, 2013; Si, Ahlstrom, Wei, & Cullen; Wu, Si, & Liu, 2020; Wu, Si, & Wu, 2016; Zahra, Liu, & Si, 2022). In general, rapid and widespread economic growth in recent decades has enabled large numbers of people to move out of poverty such that extreme poverty has fallen to less than ten percent of the world’s population (prior to the uptick from the recent pandemic) (Rosling, Rosling, & Rönnlund, 2018). However, it is increasingly clear that while some countries and regions have seen dramatic improvements in decreasing poverty, there are other places with large numbers of impoverished people that could greatly benefit from poverty alleviation efforts. Management scholars and economists (e.g., Bruton, Ahlstrom, & Si, 2015; McCloskey & Carden, 2020; Si, Zahra, Wu, & Jeng, 2020) increasingly recognize that increased entrepreneurship, in particular, may offer a significant part of the solution to world poverty. Relatedly, current digital technology and business model trends are changing traditional business operations, and with them, opportunities for poverty reduction (Si, Hall, Suddaby, Ahlstrom, & Wei, 2023).

The overarching research question proposed for this special issue is: What is poverty reduction? How can poverty be reduced when digitalization is brought in and applied? Digital poverty reduction refers to efforts, approaches, strategies, and solutions aimed at reducing poverty (e.g., a region or country) through the application of digital technologies and digital inclusion initiatives and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Today’s world has been increasingly transformed by digital technology, access to technology, and the internet has thus become essential for exploring and studying the issues of poverty reduction and entrepreneurship/innovation (Si et al., 2023). It is thus imperative to study how entrepreneurs use digital technologies to reduce poverty.

In addition, researchers conducting comprehensive reviews (e.g., Satish, 2017; Si et al., 2023) have held that digital technologies can positively impact income creation, capabilities development, and social capital development at the Base of the Pyramid (BOP), as well as impact the enabling factors essential for the scale-up and success of such a business model (Jain & Koch, 2020; Si et al., 2015) and subsequent regional economic growth (Tomizawa, Zhao, Bassellier, & Ahlstrom, 2020). The application of digital technology in entrepreneurship can significantly change the traditional intergenerational poverty and existing BOP-based poverty (e.g., Anderson & Obeng, 2017; Wu, Si, & Liu, 2022). This Special Issue is particularly timely, given the recent new forms, elements, approaches, and learning of digital technology during the pandemic, which now increasingly includes digital technology-based platforms, digital finance inclusion, distribution, and infrastructure development, thereby facilitating new digital entrepreneurship and online businesses, digital literacy and education (e.g., ChatGPT), and networks that have the potential to provide unprecedented opportunities for the impoverished.

Scope of this Special Issue

This Special Issue in MOR is devoted to publishing new research that enriches the existing theory, evidence, and practice regarding digital poverty reduction, particularly with respect to entrepreneurship and innovation. Overall, the guest editors seek research about how digital technology can help to generate new entrepreneurship and innovative activities, which in turn can help to reduce the poverty faced by individuals and regions. Further, if people in general better understand the theory and practice of digital poverty reduction in society, this could be beneficial to poverty reduction research and practice.

The guest editorial team is seeking conceptual, theoretical, and empirical (both quantitative and qualitative) papers that advance the state of knowledge on digital poverty reduction, entrepreneurship/innovation in digital economies. Topics include, but are not limited to:

1. The type and role of digital inclusive modes to poverty, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
2. Apart from external help from government or charity institutions, how can poverty reduction be viewed through entrepreneurship and innovation as an internal process which can help the poor to transform their passive attitudes and behaviors into positive actions toward reducing their poverty in the current digital economics?
3. How can we better understand and assess digital finance inclusion and how can it benefit poverty reduction in digital economics?
4. What is the role of digital infrastructure development for digital poverty reduction? What are the elements of digital poverty reduction and why are they important for conducting digital poverty reduction?
5. How do entrepreneurs and governments reduce social poverty through digital technology or network models in different regions and countries?
6. What sort of comparative research is there regarding digital poverty reduction in North America, Europe, China, and East and South Asia?
7. What is the role of inclusive entrepreneurship, inclusive innovation, and inclusive marketization that can help people living in poverty create new business models toward poverty reduction in digital economics?
8. What are the roles of digital networks and digital platforms by individuals living in severe poverty as they seek to either found or grow a business? What is the role of micro-finance and informal debts model in reducing poverty in digital economics?
9. What are the roles and actions of digital government service? How can they help generate the greatest success as business and entrepreneurship seek to address issues of poverty?
10. What is the role of digital literacy and education (e.g., ChatGPT) for digital poverty reduction?
11. How do firms respond to the geopolitical risks in their digitalization, innovation, and entrepreneurship for digital poverty reduction?
12. How can we better understand digital poverty reduction in informal and sharing economies?

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be prepared in accordance with MOR’s style guide and submitted between June 5, 2024 to October 25, 2024. Papers for the special issue should be submitted electronically through MOR’s ScholarOne Manuscripts site at and identified as submission to the ‘Digital Poverty Reduction Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ special issue. Workshop invitation letters will be issued on November 25, 2024. Questions regarding the special issue can be addressed to: Steven Si ( or

Special Issue Workshop

On December 28, 2024, a workshop associated with the special issue will take place for those authors who have received an invitation to participate. The workshop will take place at Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Please note that attendance and presentation at the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication in the special issue, while also, attendance at the workshop is not a precondition for acceptance into the Special Issue. Papers suitable for publication in the special issue will be (double-blind) reviewed following MOR’s review process guidelines.

Special Issue Guest Editors

Steven Si, PhD ( is a Professor at Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania, USA and a Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship at Zhejiang University, China. Professor Si has published many research articles in eading entrepreneurship and innovation journals such as Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and others. He is an associate editor of Technovation (2021–present). Professor Si served as a special issue guest editor in the recent years for journals such as Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Technovation, Journal of Business Venturing, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, and others. His latest book, Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation toward Poverty Reduction was published by Taylor and Francis in 2022.

Jeremy Hall is Professor of Innovation Studies, Director of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex Business School, and former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management. His research investigates the social impacts and unanticipated outcomes of innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainable supply chains and social inclusion, where he has collaborated with a range of natural and social scientists with funding from numerus funding agencies. He has published widely in business, management, and policy journals and has edited special issues for Business and SocietyEcological EconomicsInternational Journal of Operations & Production ManagementJournal of Business Venturing, and Technovation.

Victor Cui, PhD ( is Conrad Research Excellence Chair and Associate Professor at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, University of Waterloo, Canada. His current research focuses on geopolitical risks (e.g., US-China decoupling), technological innovation, IPR protection, and business strategy. His research has been published in leading journals such as Strategic Management JournalJournal of International Business Studies, and Research Policy. He is a senior editor at Management and Organization ReviewInternational Business Review, and Asia Pacific Journal of Management. His research has reached a wide audience via media outlets such as FortuneCanada Broadcast Company, and Global News.

David Ahlstrom, PhD ( is a professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Professor Ahlstrom has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in journal such as the Strategic Management JournalAcademy of Management ReviewJournal of International Business StudiesJournal of Management StudiesOrganization ScienceJournal of Business Venturing, and Academy of Management Perspectives. He was recognized as “Highly Cited Researcher” by Web of Science. Professor Ahlstrom was former Editor-in-Chief of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management and edited special issues for Entrepreneurship: Theory and PracticeTechnovation, and others.

Jiang Wei, PhD ( is Changjiang Chair Professor of innovation and strategic management and Dean at School of Management Zhejiang University, China. Professor Wei has published over 100 research articles in journals such as Journal of International Business StudiesManagement and Organizational ReviewTechnovationR&D ManagementAsia Pacific Journal of Management, and others. Professor Wei also served as a guest editor for special issues for Entrepreneurship and Regional DevelopmentTechnovation, and others.


Alvarez, S.A., & Barney, J. B. (2013). Entrepreneurial opportunities and poverty alleviation. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice38(1), 159–184.

Anderson, A. R., & Obeng, B. A. (2017). Enterprise as socially situated in a rural poor fishing community. Journal of Rural Studies49(1), 23–31.

Bruton, G. D., Ahlstrom, D., & Si, S. (2015). Entrepreneurship, poverty, and Asia: Moving beyond subsistence entrepreneurship. Asia Pacific Journal of Management32(1), 1–22.

Jain, S., & Koch, J. (2020). Crafting markets and fostering entrepreneurship within underserved communities: social ventures and clean energy provision in Asia. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development32(1–2), 176–196.

McCloskey, D. N., & Carden, A. (2020). Leave me alone and I’ll make you rich: How the Bourgeois Deal enriched the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rosling, H., Rönnlund, A. R., & Rosling, O. (2018). Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world–and why things are better than you think. New York: Flatiron Books.

Nambisan, S. (2017). Digital entrepreneurship: Toward a digital technology perspective of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice41(6), 1029–1055.

Si, S., Ahlstrom, D., Wei, J., & Cullen, J. (2020). Business, entrepreneurship and innovation toward poverty reduction. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development32(1–2), 1–20.

Si, S., Hall, J., Suddaby, R., Ahlstrom, D., & Wei, J. (2023). Technology, entrepreneurship, innovation and social change in digital economics. Technovation119, 102484.

Si, S., Yu, X., Wu, A., Chen, S., Chen, S., & Su, Y. (2015). Entrepreneurship and poverty reduction: A case study of Yiwu, China. Asia Pacific Journal of Management32(1): 119–143.

Si, S., Zahra, S., Wu, X. & Jeng, D. J-F. (2020). Disruptive innovation and emerging economics. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 58, 101601.

Tomizawa, A., Zhao, L., Bassellier, G., & Ahlstrom, D. (2020). Economic growth, innovation, institutions, and the Great Enrichment. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 37(1): 7-31

Wu, J., Si, S., & Liu, Z.Y.(2022). Entrepreneurship knowledge when East meets West. Asian Business Management, 21:317-342.

Wu, J., Si, S., & Wu, X. B. (2016). Entrepreneurial finance and innovation: Informal debt as an empirical case. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal10(3): 257–273.

Zahra, S., Liu, W., & Si, S. (2022). How digital technology promotes entrepreneurship in ecosystem. Technovation, 119, 102457.