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Title: Portfolio entrepreneurs and economic growth: the case of Uganda
Author(s): Balunywa, Waswa
Supervisor(s): Rosa, Peter
McAuley, Andrew
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Many developing countries have not benefited from the technological changes that have taken place over the last 30 years. Uganda has been no exception. The country continues to have over 30 percent of its people below the poverty line. This is despite the appropriateness of macro economic policy and government action in many of these countries. Even in the developed countries, slowness in growth has been attributed to lack of enterprise rather than policy and government action. For this reason, governments and multilateral institutions like the World Bank, have attributed the continued poverty or the slow growth to other factors like governance, institutions but more importantly, entrepreneurship. Classical, and indeed neo-classical economists, did not pay much attention to entrepreneurship as a determinant of growth and therefore this relationship has not been explored in most of the research that has attempted to explain determinants of economic growth. It was Schumpeter who suggested that the entrepreneur had a role in economic growth but no empirical studies have been undertaken to verify this. Thus was until recently when the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) studies were initiated in 1999 led by Paul Reynolds who had done some previous research in this area. The current GEM studies have focused on small firms and yet the model has existing large firms. This study identifies this gap and it is that gap that the study attempts to explain. Having no firm theoretical foundation, the study adopted an inductive approach using mainly qualitative techniques but also adopted quantitative techniques given the nature of the relationship among the variables. Theoretical sampling was used initially to identify the study population. The study identified large scale portfolio entrepreneurs as a unit of analysis and Uganda being a small country, it was possible to assume some kind of laboratory conditions in which the study was undertaken. The study’s overall aim was to establish whether a relationship existed between entrepreneurship and economic growth. To achieve this, the study examined the patterns of growth in the Uganda economy between 1962-2005, the opportunities, the macro economic policy in place, the opportunities that emerged and the role of the entrepreneur in those conditions. The study also examined the emergence of new industries in the economy, the start-ups and exits of firms in the respective industries and the role of the entrepreneur and how this related to economic growth. To secure the data, the study used a case study design for portfolio entrepreneurs combined with a survey for small and medium and corporate entrepreneurs. Unstructured interviews were conducted with portfolio entrepreneurs and self administered questionnaires were used for the other respondents. Secondary data were collected from numerous published sources. The study confirmed that there existed a relationship between macro economic policy and economic growth which confirmed assertions by mainstream economists. The study also established that a relationship existed between entrepreneurship and economic growth. The Uganda economy as a small economy gives that ability to see the relationship. The study reveals, using the Uganda economy, that large scale portfolio entrepreneurs have an important role to play in orchestrating economic growth through their activities of start-up, job creation and infrastructural development. The study further confirms that liberalization of an economy as in the case of Uganda creates opportunities and that these opportunities are seized by entrepreneurs. Portfolio entrepreneurs play a key role in this process. Technology too has an important role among other factors. As an industry is formed, many new firms enter it. This creates competition. Competition may lead to development of new technologies, products, services and processes. This leads to firm exiting the industry. The start-up and exit of firms in an industry leads to job creation and loss. It is this process that Schumpeter called the creative destruction where job creation and job losses that creates growth. This study brings out the importance of the large scale portfolio entrepreneurs, how they start business, perceive opportunities, and compete. The conclusions from the study are that a relationship exists between entrepreneurial activity and economic growth, and that large scale entrepreneurs have a major role to play in an economy. They are job creators, tax payers, wealth creators, and through the multiplier effect. There is need for deductive studies in an attempt to confirm this relationship.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Management Education Centre

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