Assessing impact of a Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute for African entrepreneurs
Keywords:business development, human capital, phenomenology
The development of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been slow compared to the rest of the world, and a lack of investment in human capital development emerges as a prevalent reason. Oklahoma State University provided a six-week-long entrepreneurship education program (EEP) for participants from SSA; many had agricultural or food businesses. Approaches to entrepreneurship education is a well-debated topic in the literature, including how best to evaluate such. We conducted a study in which 12 entrepreneurs were interviewed about nine months after the program’s end. Transcripts were analyzed using Epoche, horizontalization, phenomenological reduction, and imaginative variation. Themes, sub-themes, and an essence emerged. The themes were improvements, changes, and challenges to their business models; self-improvement and empowerment; and social change. Building the capacity of socially responsible entrepreneurs for a new Africa was the phenomenon’s essence. Future research should assess the impact of business knowledge attainment on the long-term success of entrepreneurs and identify learning experiences motivating them to practice social entrepreneurship. EEPs should stress rigor and an ethos of accomplishment, conduct site visits, and provide opportunities for community service. Interventions to negate the marginalization frequently experienced by women entrepreneurs in developing contexts are also discussed.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Alexander J. Smith, M. Craig Edwards, Craig E. Watters, Matthew W. Rutherford
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