Youth entrepreneurship in Accra, Ghana: The role of education and social networks in opportunity development

Katrine Bay & Pia Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Recent debates in the development community and countries in Sub‐Saharan Africa have centred on how to create employment for the growing youth population. Entrepreneurship has become very popular in private sector development as a way of creating selfemployment and hereby decreasing poverty. The purpose of this thesis was to examine how educational background and social networks affect opportunity development for young entrepreneurs in Accra. In particular, how entrepreneurial education might influence opportunity identification since there is an increased focus on this education in Ghana. We therefore identified three groups of young entrepreneurs whom we interviewed during a field trip to Accra. The entrepreneurs in two of the groups had received specific entrepreneurship education whereas those in the last group had not. The thesis employed the philosophy of critical realism in order to answer the research question, and employed a qualitative methodology consisting of semi‐structured interviews and participant observations. A framework of opportunity development was proposed with variables indentified from the literature. The data obtained from the 20 interviews indicated that educational background influenced opportunity identification and that entrepreneurs used social networks in the execution of opportunities. Moreover, our research indicated that religious networks and the use of online social networks played an important role in business for young entrepreneurs. These findings make a small contribution to an understanding of opportunity development in the under researched area of youth and entrepreneurship. Further, our findings may be of interest to companies, organisations or donors that want to offer entrepreneurial training programs, or who are already doing so.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages158