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Title: Entrepreneurship and SME sector development in post-genocide Rwanda : a search for the 'missing middle'
Author: Poole, David Leonard
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 0396
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis aims to gain an understanding of why a new entrepreneurial class and a vibrant small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector have failed to materialise in post-genocide Rwanda. Vision 2020, the government's economic and social development plan, set the goal of transforming Rwanda into a middle-income country by the year 2020. This was to be brought about via the emergence of a new entrepreneurial class and a dynamic SME sector that would deliver economic growth, employment and a stable and secure future for the country's citizens. But despite implementing a comprehensive strategy that conforms to orthodox development theory, the desired SME sector is conspicuous by its absence. The thesis examines the validity of the theoretical arguments that underpin the strategy, the context within which the economic transformation was expected to occur and specific stimulus measures that were taken. Possible explanations for the mismatch between anticipated outcomes and reality were explored via face to face interviews with successful and aspiring entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Analysis of the interviews with successful entrepreneurs revealed a divergence between their characteristics and experiences and orthodox theory. Contrasting these findings with those from the interviews with aspiring entrepreneurs facilitated identification of a sub-set of proto-entrepreneurs, who were a close match to successful entrepreneurs both in the characteristics they displayed and the entrepreneurial journey they intended to take. However, the paucity of proto-entrepreneurs and the anticipated lengthy gestation period that is likely to accompany the development of their enterprises challenge both the common conception that developing economies are populated by a vast number of 'entrepreneurs in waiting' and the assumption that the supply of credit and business skills training will trigger the formation of a dynamic SME sector. The thesis also highlights the unintended consequences of resources being misdirected as well as the risk of leaving behind a large body of well-educated but disillusioned individuals, who anticipated being included in an economic success story, which has not come to pass and generated the sustainable volume of employment that was an explicit objective of Vision 2020.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral