Black Africans are one of the most prominent and fastest growing minority groups in the United Kingdom. They are also represented in entrepreneurship but like most ethnic minority businesses they continue to struggle against structural and environmental obstacles. Long-term success of Black African entrepreneurship will significantly improve to UK economy, create employment, bridge inequality gap and reduce tension and crime in urban areas.
The purpose of this study is to extend the body of knowledge on Black African entrepreneurship. Employing the mixed embeddedness model, it explores the cultural inclination, unique characteristics and challenges they face and their entrepreneurial dynamics. It examines the relationship at the micro, meso and macro levels which gives insight into the opportunities enabled, obstacles encountered, and strategies employed by Black African entrepreneurs in achieving entrepreneurial success. It is useful in understanding success and its measure not just in general terms but as it specifically applies to Black African entrepreneurs and how this concept is framed through their lived experiences and history within the environment in which they are embedded.
It is an exploratory research and it employs the qualitative methodology to capture the robustness of Black African entrepreneurship. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted, and entrepreneurs were chosen across different industries. Data was collected from twenty-five Black business owners residing in London. Participants were recruited through quota and snowballing techniques and data analyzed using inductive content analysis.
Findings revealed Black business owners perceive success as the presence of personal and macro variables. For entrepreneurial success to be accurately gauged in ethnic entrepreneurship, non-financial factors must be measured. Moreover, Black African entrepreneur’s needs to be studied with careful consideration of the differences in first and second generation as distinct differences were found in their perception, definition and measures of success. This has a significant implication in entrepreneurial engagement and outcomes. While, the first-generation is constrained by limited resources and ethnic embeddedness, the second-generation leverages the skills and resources acquired and develop both ethnic and non-ethnic ties. The interaction of the micro, macro and meso components are different across the two generations and diverse factors are responsible for success.
The second-generation is changing the entrepreneurial landscape by bringing their unique set of skills to bear but more needs to be done to consolidate their position as successful entrepreneurs. Finally, in order to bridge the performance gap especially with the future generation there is need to move from reactive strategy, that is driven by situation and implement long-term strategies to build capacity in entrepreneurship and business management. This study has implication for policy in providing a springboard for deliberation towards effective business support and in promoting quality entrepreneurship within the Black community. This research unpacks the concept of long-term success and how various factors contribute to the entrepreneurial outcomes of Black Africans.