The entrepreneurial lived experience of black African entrepreneurs in the UK

  • Joseph Shuaibu

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The development of ethnic entrepreneurship in scholarly and entrepreneurial activity has seen growing importance both in developing and developed countries in recent years. In this new area of study, ethnic entrepreneurship has been labelled as the ‘engine of growth’ as all entrepreneurs have brought an enormous positive contribution to both economic and social development where this has happened. The importance of entrepreneurship to any nation's economic growth can be evidenced by the various support mechanism and policy initiatives by various governments of nations. Therefore, this thesis focuses on the entrepreneurial lived experience of black African entrepreneurs in the UK.

Reviewing previous literature on entrepreneurship, particularly from the ethnic entrepreneurship perspective, there are indications that the research within the ethnic entrepreneurship discipline is underdeveloped. Thus, the research chosen topic for this study falls within the focus of entrepreneurial opportunity within ethnic enclaves. These same pieces of literature suggest that the black African entrepreneurship concept has not been prominent in the UK and has not been adequately investigated.

The objectives of this research, therefore, are firstly to critically review the relevant literature relating to black African entrepreneurialism, secondly, to explore the factors influencing entrepreneurial drives among black African entrepreneurs, the impact of labour market opportunity, the available institutional support system, and how they identify entrepreneurial opportunity in the UK with a focus on gaining a deeper understanding of their entrepreneurial lived experience to develop a conceptual framework.

The research is based on qualitative investigation, the author adopted semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the study's aim. Data was also collected through semi-structured in depth interviews and questionnaires to investigate the entrepreneurial lived experience of black African entrepreneurs. Participants for this study were selected through purposive sampling and accessed using snowball sampling. The selection of participants was based on specific criteria. The data were analysed using thematic analysis to classify the influencing factors meaningfully. This explorative study is both inductive and deductive in nature. The study adds to the literature by discovering the specific factors responsible for enduring entrepreneurial sustainability within the community of black African entrepreneurs. The findings of this study offer fresh insight and value to academics, practitioners, as well as to policymakers and have opened several research areas for entrepreneurship development in business start-ups. Thus, the findings provide an essential baseline for future qualitative studies focusing on the environmental opportunities the UK offers. The findings also suggest that the factors influencing entrepreneurial opportunity among black Africans in the UK differ from the in-depth literature linked to other ethnic enclaves. The different background of the interviewees has added value to the findings by providing contending perspectives to the research. This study has advanced understanding of black African ethnic entrepreneurial opportunity identification in a developed country like the UK, and identification of entrepreneurial opportunity among black African entrepreneurs.

This research contributes to knowledge within the field of black African entrepreneurship by offering a strategy conceptualisation of black African entrepreneurial lived experience in the UK to create interest in the field. Another contribution is that the nature of this research is the first of its kind to be carried out in the UK. Studies from other ethnic enclaves have been done while none from the West African region. Lastly, this research has established that if black African businesses are given the support they deserved in the UK, they can play a significant role in economic success.
Date of AwardMar 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorSteve Reeve (Supervisor) & Celestine Nwachukwu (Supervisor)

Cite this