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Supporting black businesses: narratives of support providers in London

Sonny Nwankwo (Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of East London, London, UK)
Jaya Akunuri (Royal Docks Business School, University of East London, London, UK)
Nnamdi O. Madichie (College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 28 September 2010




The purpose of this paper is to explore how narrative discourses frames entrepreneurial knowledge – in the form of understandings and meanings – focusing the role of business support in stimulating black entrepreneurship. It reveals the assumptions and values associated with business support from the point of view of the providers – who themselves are categorized as “black”.


A collaborative narrative approach is adopted to locate knowledge of business support within the “life‐world” of black business support providers. The research was conducted at two levels: focus group and narrative interviews.


The paper highlights the ways in which dominant discourses guide as well as constrain the representation of black businesses. Low take‐up of business support is contested. Public‐funded business support programmes are perceived as unwholesome, unwieldy and inherently inadequate in meeting the strategic development needs of black businesses.

Research limitations/implications

Focusing on actual engagement rather than content aspects of the business support policy framework reveals a need for more dialogic research to explore more deeply whether, and to what extent, alternative and new perspectives on supporting black businesses are needed.


The novelty of this paper lies in attempting to unravel the complex processes of business support provision in the context of black entrepreneurship by decoding the narrative discourses used by support providers who are themselves categorized as “black”. Such intrinsic examination of views and beliefs is relatively unique and provides an interesting platform for further research.



Nwankwo, S., Akunuri, J. and Madichie, N.O. (2010), "Supporting black businesses: narratives of support providers in London", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 561-580.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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