Changing the Mindset of Ugandan Entrepreneurs: From Muppets to Gazelles

Title: Changing the Mindset of Ugandan Entrepreneurs: From Muppets to Gazelles

Funding info: NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) project granted under the funding line WOTRO.

Duration: Nov 2014-May 2017

Project leader: 

Eindhoven University of Technology, School of Innovation Sciences, NL
Dr. Henny Romijn, Technology, Innovation & Society group

Project team members (in alphabetic order of institutions):

Eindhoven University of Technology, NL: School of Innovation Sciences
Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda 
Uganda Investment Authority, Kampala, Uganda
Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association, Kampala, Uganda

Rural Women’s Cooperative in Mpigi district, Uganda. The women are involved in local wine production from pineapple and mango under their own brand, DRAGON.
 Source: field visit H. Romijn, July 2015

 The project in a nutshell:

Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa typically remains at the level of small-scale subsistence activities. This project is investigating the conditions under which entrepreneurs become more dynamic so that small businesses grow. Dynamic entrepreneurship is necessary to make employment more productive and to stimulate growth. While dynamic entrepreneurship is occurring in Uganda’s urban areas, rural businesses are not breaking out of their current static context that does not encourage innovation or the adjustment of entrepreneurial networks.
This project is focusing on rural and female entrepreneurs who are being confronted with significant barriers to dynamic entrepreneurship. It will use a mixed-method approach including a cross-sectional survey of 800 entrepreneurs and a longitudinal survey of 300 entrepreneurs, ethnographic research and a field experiment related to social networking on a digital platform. This experiment will involve the introduction of two resource centers that will enable local entrepreneurs to use the Internet and social media.
Knowledge-sharing activities will include participant workshops, radio broadcasts and policy briefs. The research findings will lead to a handbook entitled ‘Innovate and break your business barriers” with accompanying training manual and assessment tools to be used in trainings at the Uganda Investment Authority and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association. The research consortium will also train the trainers of these organizations.

Snack making enterprise run by a female entrepreneur, Mpigi district, Uganda. The picture shows snacks from plantains and bajias (made from a mix of cassava and soya flour) being fried on wood fires. This enterprise employs 17 poor women who also take their babies to work.

Source: field visit H. Romijn. July 2015

Main research questions:
·         What are barriers to innovativeness for rural and female entrepreneurs?
·         How can rural entrepreneurs use personal initiative to create resourceful networks?
·         What factors influence entrepreneurs’ successful adoption of the Internet and social networking?

Country focus 
·         Uganda (main focus)
·         Tanzania (for comparison purposes)
·         Kenya (for comparison purposes)

Thematic focus
·         Productive employment

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