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Entrepreneurship and SMEs in London (UK): Evaluating the role of black Africans in this emergent sector

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Purpose ‐ The small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) development has been the subject of a growing interest among academics and practitioners, as well as multilateral institutions. However, the interest in the growth of African business evolution has been under-researched, even as developments and market dynamics are increasingly impacting this sub-sector, especially in the UK. The urgent need arises for a study that enables practitioners and educators and also lends some insight into the possibilities and limitations in the UK environment, with a view to improving entrepreneurial education that is focused on these minorities. This paper aims to fill that gap. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This study focuses on the development of black African SMEs (BASMEs) in London by examining the various factors that impact their development. A qualitative methodological approach was used to gain a better understanding of the BASMEs. Findings ‐ This research proceeds by developing a conceptual matrix to classify the black Africans into four but significant emergent groups. It also discusses the trend of growth in the last decade. Finally, it draws conclusions on managerial implications, by identifying the various social, economic and environmental limitations that impact (BASMEs') growth. Research limitations/implications ‐ A substantial part of this study was based on secondary data. There appear to be several areas in need of further research. Further in-depth research is required to assess the characteristics of BASMEs. Practical implications ‐ The study enables practitioners, policy makers and educators to have an insight into the possibilities and limitations in the UK environment. It will help to improve entrepreneurial education and policies that are focused on these minorities. It goes on to make suggestions as to how those may be improved, as well as identifying new areas of possible research. Originality/value ‐ The study provides all interested parties, the African businesses and other ethnic businesses, with a more robust body of literature and information from which new and further research can be built and expanded.

Keywords: Business development; Entrepreneurialism; Ethnic minorities; Small to medium-sized enterprises; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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