Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (Print ISSN: 1098-8394; Online ISSN: 1528-2651)


Reinforcing the Attitudes of Aspiring Young African Entrepreneurs towards Entrepreneurship by Using Appreciative Inquiry

Author(s): James Swart, Jannie Pretorius

In this article it is argued that one of the aims of entrepreneurship education, among other things, is to reinforce the mind-sets or attitudes of young people so that they may become successful entrepreneurs. This may both help to solve the challenges experienced by job seekers and to discover or exploit opportunities available for the development of individuals and of countries at large. The purpose of this article is to highlight how appreciative inquiry can help to identify and reinforce the attitudes of aspiring young South African entrepreneurs so as to assist them to meet some of the many challenges associated with entrepreneurship successfully. The research methodology included an exploratory case study that focused on a singular appreciative inquiry workshop. During this workshop, seven aspiring young African entrepreneurs completed a standardised questionnaire and participated in oral presentations. The results of the questionnaire indicate that, despite lacking conviction and a good work ethic, some of the participants have unrealistic goals. These are attitudes that will have to change if they are indeed to become successful entrepreneurs. During the appreciative enquiry workshop, each participant was allowed an opportunity to give three oral presentations on specific topics. The successes, strengths and challenges of each participant’s presentation were then discussed in the group. The researchers observed improvements in the presenters’ attitudes, confidence levels and presentation skills as the presenters were gradually able to establish improved personal rapport with the other participants. A key recommendation of this research relates to addressing the concerns of setting realistic goals, strengthening conviction or self-confidence and of promoting a diligent work ethic among aspiring young African entrepreneurs.