Bello, Moshood Adeniji ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4080-4121 (2019) Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa: an exploratory study of entrepreneurial opportunities identification among early-stage small business owners in Nigeria. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the under-investigated construct of entrepreneurial opportunities identification within an entirely new context of Sub-Saharan Africa. Opportunity has been recognised as the single most important concept in the study of entrepreneurship. Recently, how it is identified has also been recognised as a central theme of the scholarly field and the most crucial in the entrepreneurial process. How this process of opportunity identification relates to business outcomes is also of concern to scholars of entrepreneurship. However, despite its centrality and importance, opportunity identification remains under-investigated in the context of developing Sub-Saharan Africa. Motivated by calls for more empirical studies on opportunity identification in new contexts, this thesis examines the construct of entrepreneurial opportunities identification amongst owners of small, early-stage firms in Nigeria.
Guided by the philosophy of pragmatism, this study uses the principles of meta-theory to integrate the two dominant theories of discovery and creation of opportunity to develop a conceptual framework as a theoretical lens for the study. A convergent mixed-methodology approach, comprising of a survey of 320 firms and 38 semi-structured interviews of entrepreneurs, was used to gather data. The quantitative data was analysed using some descriptive and inferential statistical techniques, while the qualitative data was analysed using content and thematic techniques. The results of the survey and interviews were triangulated to strengthen the research findings.
The empirical results indicate that opportunity exists within the context of a developing economy as imitation and innovative opportunities. The former is an existing opportunity discovered and imitated by a necessity entrepreneur, who possesses alertness, prior knowledge, education, and social networks, while the latter is created by an opportunity entrepreneur intuitively or by modifying an existing opportunity. Both the discovery and creation process are explained. The results further reveal that a weak path-dependent relationship exists between the process of opportunity identification and a small firm’s performance in its early stages. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications for theory and practice, and suggestions for further studies are also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Opportunities, Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa, Mixed-methods
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Keele Business School
Contributors: Allman, Kurt (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 14:18
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2019 14:18
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6803

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