Original Research - Special Collection: Women in Business in Africa

Entrepreneurial ecosystems created by woman entrepreneurs in Botswana

Anastacia Mamabolo, Reitumetse Lekoko
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 52, No 1 | a2228 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v52i1.2228 | © 2021 Anastacia Mamabolo, Reitumetse Lekoko | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2020 | Published: 24 August 2021

About the author(s)

Anastacia Mamabolo, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa
Reitumetse Lekoko, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa


Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore how woman entrepreneurs in a developing country context such as Botswana create their own entrepreneurial ecosystems that support their business-venturing activities.

Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative research collected data via in-depth interviews from a purposive sample of 11 women who owned established enterprises in Gaborone, Botswana.

Findings/results: Firstly, woman entrepreneurs in Botswana displayed entrepreneurial behaviours, skills and characteristics, an ability to overcome marginalisation and a positive attitude towards failure. Secondly, the entrepreneurial ecosystems created by women included social capital ties, human capital development, alternative funding mechanisms, access to local and international markets and inclusion of digital technology as part of the ecosystem. The woman entrepreneurs were influenced by the entrepreneurial institutional conditions in Botswana. Lastly, the findings showed the significance of changes to each component of the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the stages of the entrepreneurial journey.

Practical implications: In a context of limited entrepreneurial resources, woman entrepreneurs should build their own ecosystem by leveraging the existing social networks and collaborating with local and international stakeholders. Government should design tailor-made entrepreneurial programmes and foster public and private partnerships to support the advancement of woman entrepreneurs. Lastly, ecosystem players including private institutions should collaborate to support women-owned entrepreneurial ventures.

Originality/value: This study adopted an alternative view that woman entrepreneurs can be the key drivers of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This system must be built up from the level of the women entrepreneurs to better understand their specific stance and also the context in which they operate.


emerging market; entrepreneurial ecosystem; women entrepreneurship; institutional theory; entrepreneurial behaviours.


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