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Discovering the entrepreneurial endowment of the youth

Alex Bignotti (Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Ingrid le Roux (Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

ISSN: 2040-0705

Article publication date: 12 March 2018




Entrepreneurship is considered as a possible solution to youth unemployment, and the number of initiatives fostering youth entrepreneurship has multiplied accordingly, also in Africa. However, the effectiveness of such initiatives also lies in whether young people display personality and contextual dimensions conducive to starting and running businesses. The purpose of this paper is to examine the composition of young South Africans’ “entrepreneurial endowment”, represented by personality traits and contextual variables commonly associated with entrepreneurship.


This paper surveyed secondary students using a questionnaire constructed from validated measurement instruments, obtaining 827 valid responses. It employed exploratory factor analysis to investigate the composition of respondents’ entrepreneurial endowment. It also compared respondents’ entrepreneurial endowment across demographic variables by means of t-tests and ANOVA.


The results reveal the existence of an entrepreneurial endowment composed of: need for achievement, locus of control, community support, two role models sub-constructs and two family support sub-constructs. Significant differences from the perspective of gender, cultural background and entrepreneurship education also emerged.

Practical implications

The findings confirm that young South Africans have the entrepreneurial endowment needed to be the recipients of entrepreneurship support and highlight relevant differences across demographic variables.


From a theoretical perspective, this paper unveils the structure of young South Africans’ entrepreneurial endowment, composed of four unique dimensions not found in previous research. The insights gained from comparing entrepreneurial endowment results across different groups offer practical implications.



Bignotti, A. and le Roux, I. (2018), "Discovering the entrepreneurial endowment of the youth", African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 14-33.



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