Immigrants in the United States are much more likely than non-immigrants to start a business, prompting state and federal governments to enact special programs to attract and encourage immigrant entrepreneurs. However, immigrant small business entrepreneurs exit at the early phases of business ownership and fail more often than their native peers. Moreover, the founding intentions, why, and how they quit have been largely unclear. Among immigrants in the United States, those from sub-Saharan Africa have a lower entrepreneurship rate compared to other immigrant groups. Only few studies have been conducted on African immigrant entrepreneurship, whereas references to the group have been limited to the general Black population in the country. Therefore, no clear model exists to appreciate the unique attributes, operational dynamics, and survival patterns of small business entrepreneurship among the community.
Grit, the ability to persevere and sustain interest in the attainment of long-term goals provides a plausible construct for exploring the sub-Saharan African immigrant entrepreneur’s ability to survive beyond the formative years. However, in order to reflect the lived experiences and relevant perspectives of the cohort, this study employed a conceptual model that considered the modulating role of ethnocultural factors, immigration/integration, and human capital. Within the framework of a qualitative case study design, the researcher interviewed 13 volunteer participants from the Greater Houston Metropolitan area, who also completed an online Grit Scale. Findings from the study showed that sub-Saharan African immigrant entrepreneurs demonstrated high levels of grit, with variations with regards to gender, age and country of origin, but also the predominance of the ability to persevere rather than consistency of interest in the long term. The findings also revealed that culture and ethnicity enhanced the sense of identity, purpose, and performance, which influenced the participants’ ability to persevere and sustain interest in the long term; that the immigration/integration informed and pre-conditioned the participants for successful small business ownership in their host communities; and that education and previous experience introduced and instilled important skills that have proven useful in running their business through the years. These findings bring more clarity to the practice of entrepreneurship within the sub-Saharan African immigrant community in the United States. These study outcomes could help guide aspirant African immigrant entrepreneurs successfully navigate the challenges of small business ownership. It could also provide useful, evidence-based data that could help efforts by stakeholders to improve entrepreneurship within the immigrant community.
|Commitee:||Hakim, Amy, Haussmann, Robert|
|Department:||Organizational Development and Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Colorado|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Entrepreneurship, Sub Saharan Africa Studies, Labor economics, Ethnic studies, Personality psychology|
|Keywords:||Grit, Small business survival, Sub-Saharan Africa immigrant entrepreneurship, Ethnocultural factors, Immigration/integration, human capital|
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