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The journey to develop educated entrepreneurs: prospects and problems of Afghan businessmen

Ali Muhammad (University of Liverpool Management School, Liverpool, UK)
Saeed Akbar (University of Liverpool Management School, Liverpool, UK)
Murray Dalziel (University of Liverpool Management School, Liverpool, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




This study seeks to examine self‐perceived entrepreneurial problems and prospects in a post‐war scenario. It aims to present a holistic and historical account of Afghan graduates and their ability to transform into educated entrepreneurs. The study further aims to highlight entrepreneurial characteristics of the Afghans and link them to the unique livelihood strategies they adopt.


Given a lack of archival data, this study relies on semi‐structured interviews and historical data from different sources. The findings are mainly based on life narratives of graduate entrepreneurs in different sectors. Descriptive questions about entrepreneurial problems and prospects in the post‐war era were asked.


Long wars and internal turmoil have pushed both educated and uneducated Afghans into entrepreneurship. The study finds that entrepreneurs rank entrepreneurial characteristics as major prospects available while adverse security conditions and widespread corruption are the major problems faced. The problems discourage them from entering a formal business domain. Despite emerging opportunities such as niche markets, entrepreneurial problems outweigh the prospects.

Practical implications

This research has implications for entrepreneurship educationists and policy‐makers. Economic growth can be made possible only when entrepreneurial problems are replaced with prospects. Afghan graduates could then serve as entrepreneurial drivers for real economic growth. Moreover, this strategy of entrepreneurialism may help in reducing extremist tendencies in the long run.


The study provides evidence of the effectiveness of the long entrepreneurial struggle of university graduates in war‐like conditions. Entrepreneurs' motivations suggest developing a viable entrepreneurship‐education program in the future.



Muhammad, A., Akbar, S. and Dalziel, M. (2011), "The journey to develop educated entrepreneurs: prospects and problems of Afghan businessmen", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 5, pp. 433-447.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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