Assessing the sustainability of London-based black African SMEs
Cordelia Osewa-Ediae, Social Policy Researcher, London
Abstract: This study seeks to assess the sustainability of black African Small/Medium Enterprises (BASMEs) in London – by identifying how several unique factors might impinge on their propensity to flourish, falter or fail. In acknowledging the importance of break-out to the sustainability of these businesses, this study explores whether an escapist mindset and low levels of acculturation could impinge on an entrepreneur’s willingness to overcome embeddedness, by reducing dependence on community linkages. Combining a synthesis of existing literature with a modicum of empirical research, this study finds that majority of the respondents were not ‘escapists entrepreneurs’. However, the escapists were more likely to operate businesses which may be failure-prone as they were more likely to neglect pre-start-up preparations, less likely to approach institutional support systems for business support and more likely to favour embeddedness. Furthermore, acculturation levels were not found to have any effect on the entrepreneurs’ attitudes towards overcoming embeddedness and approaching institutions for business support. This study has both practical and social implications – as outlined in the main body of the paper.
Keywords: African entrepreneurs, sustainability, embeddedness, escapists, ethnic business, break out, acculturation, self employment, London.