17.0 What Needs to be Done - Mainstreaming Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Africa

(Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Oct 2002 by Kiggundu, Moses N)

The fourth and final factor that is needed involves the mainstreaming of African entrepreneurship. There has been a tendency to treat entrepreneurs either as marginal members of society and the economy, or to romanticize them as heroes or saviors even when they make little or negative contributions to society and the economy. Both treatments are erroneous. African entrepreneurship has a lot of problems, especially at the lower end, and these need to be recognized and dealt with rationally and systematically. At the same time, there are promising cases of the emerging entrepreneurial class, whose potential should be recognized and nurtured. Mainstreaming means being level headed about the challenges and opportunities of African entrepreneurship, and making it an integral part of the African education system, so that both the public and especially school drop outs are better informed about the prospects and limitations of employment in this sector. At the moment, very few African universities offer specialized programs in entrepreneurship. Testing and assessments should be provided to students and prospective entrepreneurs to determine their potential and allow for more informed career decisions. Countries such as Botswana and Ghana have long-term national strategic visions and should use such plans to mainstream entrepreneurship.


The Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE) provides a forum for the dissemination of descriptive, empirical, and theoretical research that focuses on issues concerning microenterprise and small business development, especially under conditions of adversity.

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