18/11/2016 Conference ‘Dynamic Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries’

Eindhoven, 18 November 2016
More information here.
Free registration deadline: 1 November 2016

Many small enterprises in developing countries are true subsistence activities pursued for sheer lack of more productive work opportunities. Yet, there are some that do have growth potential. The problem is that such dynamic enterprises (labelled „gazelles‟ by some1 ) often operate “under the radar” in the informal sector just like the survivalist businesses, being unable to spread their wings due to a number of barriers, such as the lack of access to credit.2 In this working conference, we focus on the question how innovative and dynamic entrepreneurship in developing countries can be explained and boosted. A first question is “What are the main social, economic and cultural factors that hinder and/or favour dynamic entrepreneurship?” For example, “negative social capital” is one of those important barriers. Sub-Saharan African, especially rural areas is characterized by a collectivistic culture. Strong norms about mutual assistance exist within “extended families”. Profit is not invested in new products, new processes or exploration, but in the family. A recent promising strategy is the use of new technologies – social media and mobile phone apps in particular. 3 Mobile phones have had a profound effect in the daily lives of their users, and they have been recognized as a potential tool for poverty alleviation and overcoming inequality. As pointed out in a 2012 report on mobile technologies commissioned by the World Bank, “mobile applications not only empower individual users, but they also enrich lifestyles and livelihoods”.4 Indeed, the so called “mobile revolution” has led many institutions, practitioners, and researchers to understand mobile phones as means to improve systems and services, especially in underserved contexts in different areas: education and information access, health, agriculture, etc.5 This leads to the second question that is a theme in this working conference: “How can ICT technologies support dynamic entrepreneurship?”. New developments, especially mobile phone apps (e.g. icow app) are promising technologies to help entrepreneurs. For example, mobile money can help the financial management of an enterprise, but can also help alleviate social problems. Women can use mobile money to hide money from abusive husbands. Another way those apps can help is the increase the social capital of entrepreneurs that are often locked in close knit family networks.