Informal Entrepreneus: Street Vendors, their Livelihoods and the influence of Social Capital. The case of cut-flower and fruit vendors in Old Downtown Cebu City, 2007.
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This master thesis sheds light on the livelihoods, social networks, supply chains and organization degree and benefits of organization and informality of street vendors in Cebu City, Central Visayas, the Philippines. The importance of the concept of social capital for micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector is at the core of this research. It is a contribution to the study of divergent relational economies in the Central Visayas region in the Philippines and to the theoretical debate concerning informal entrepreneurs and their social context. The main question: To what extent does organization among the street vendors contribute to the realization of their goals and what are the consequences for their livelihoods? structures the thesis. Important outcomes are: Street vendors have desired goals. These goals surprisingly are not situated in the realm of entering the formal sector. Rather they want to expand their business and carry on within the same framework they are acting in. Street vendors are satisfied with the efforts of their union CCUVA and with the ‘maximum tolerance policy of local government. The main goal of the street vendors is to improve their business and expand their business and revenues in order to improve their livelihood. The current policy is one of status quo on the legal side, where officially vendors are illegal, but managed within a policy of maximum tolerance, with no priority for local government to change the situation. CCUVA and other organizations are at the heart of negotiating a participatory process that includes local government and street vendors represented by their organizations alike. Progress has been made, nevertheless the goals are not yet met.