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Dissertation / thesis Dissertation / thesis Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Entrepreneurs by the grace of God: life and work of seamstresses in Bolgatanga, Ghana
Author:Wout, Merel van 't
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:women entrepreneurs
poverty reduction
employment creation
informal sector
labour policy
theses (form)
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/33231
Abstract:This research aims at understanding the expectations and motivations of young women in Ghana's Upper East region to start their own business. Supporting the owners of small-scale businesses in the informal economy has become a central objective of the global development agenda. Using an anthropological approach, this research intends to contribute to, and criticize, the dominant discourse on the need to advance entrepreneurship. The central research question is: what are individual, cultural and contextual factors that shape the decision of young women in Bolgatanga to enroll in a seamstress apprenticeship and in which ways do these factors relate to the wider debate on promoting entrepreneurship as a development strategy? Based on the material presented in this thesis, I argue that the theoretical arguments underlying efforts to advance entrepreneurship among the poor are fundamentally flawed. There are three cross-cutting issues that need to be taken into account when we discuss entrepreneurship as a development strategy. These issues are: the weak conceptualization of entrepreneurship in development discourse, the neglect of the socio-economic context in which 'entrepreneurial' activities take place, the importance of cultural and psychological factors, and the ongoing attractiveness that entrepreneurship carries for development policymakers. Based on the stories of seamstresses in Bolgatanga, this thesis is an appeal to rethink policies designed to promote (female) entrepreneurship among the poor. It calls into question the portrayal of self-employment as 'entrepreneurship' and the depiction of poverty as an individual problem.