Part 3 - Culture

From Ecosystem.Build Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Definition - What is culture?

According to UNESCO, “Culture is who we are, and what shapes our identity. Placing culture at the heart of development policies is the only way to ensure a human-centred, inclusive and equitable development.”

UNESCO defines culture as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group that encompasses, not only art and literature, but lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs (UNESCO, 2001).

Culture is a cross-cutting theme in development,  that if well understood, can help enhance, support and promote livelihood improvements. Supporting and encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship relies on understanding the society in which it is being promoted.

Source: UNESCO (2001). UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Paris: UNESCO.[1]

Personal Development

These interventions aim at fostering personal entrepreneurial traits of the population, such as self-confidence, ambition, non-fear of failure and the ability to identify good opportunities. These traits are important to actually decide to become an entrepreneur.

Policy Objectives Addressed Expected Impacts KPIs
  • Promoting entrepreneurship
  • Increase of business creation
  • Non-fear of failure/Risk acceptance
  • Opportunity startup

Encourage exploration of personal talents and potential: Support personal development through incorporation of entrepreneurial skills training.

Mauritius’s 10 Year Master Plan for the SME Sector proposes to revise entrepreneurship curricula at secondary and tertiary levels such that it incorporates strong elements  of personal development in education as an essential element next to knowledge acquisition.

Reduce the Stigma of Failure: Support the recognition of failure as part of learning how to succeed

Think Young, a group that advocates for young entrepreneurs in the European Union launched the ‘Fail 2 Succeed’ campaign aimed at encouraging young entrepreneurs to embrace business failure as a learning requirement for future success and as part of its campaign, it showcases testimonials of “famous failures”

Promote experiential learning: Promote experiential and immersive teaching methods that develop entrepreneurship-related soft skills.

Alfatoun, an international NGO with network partners implementing Alfatoun programs in 35 African countries, offers age-appropriate experiential learning courses that teach young children and teenagers valuable skills for starting a business including savings, financial planning and budgeting, self-confidence and social skills.

Increase equitable access: Address key constraints and market failures that limit the demand for youth employment and their productivity in employment

Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) aims at assisting youth in Kenya to acquire the skills and capital required to help them in generating an income as an Entrepreneur “Mfanyabiashara”, implemented by Micro and Small Enterprise Authority.

English language skills: As a key language for accessing international knowledge, improving the reach and quality of English language instruction is essential as it is often associated with improved self-confidence and capabilities

Rwanda’s Entrepreneurship Development Policy focusses on diversifying english instruction mechanisms through its increased availability on booklets, mobile and web based applications established and operationalized.

Promote financial literacy: Increase access to financial information and literacy to help vulnerable groups make sound financial decisions

DSIK in Eastern Africa supports beneficiaries in developing the skills required to manage their personal and business finances and be better prepared for handling financial uncertainty. They work in partnership with local partner institutions such as Ministry of the Interior, Patriotic Training and Local Development in Burundi.

Building a culture of entrepreneurship among youth - Rwanda

  • Rwanda’s policy outlines a few initiatives: the first is a national program, the Young Enterprise Scheme that offers teams of young people over the age of 14 the opportunity to run a business for an academic year. They receive mentorship from local businessmen and compete for the “Young Enterprise of the Year Award” at the end of their projects.
  • A second program to be implemented, is a mentoring program for young people starting businesses through Business Development Service Centers. The goal is to recruit and train leaders of successful local businesses to offer advice to young people.
  • In addition to these programs, the government will identify successful entrepreneurs to serve as ambassadors and make at least 4 appearances per year in their district to speak to and mentor groups of young people.

Quotation mark.png

76% of young people (18-24) surveyed in 14 African countries would like to start a business in the next five years. But only 51% find it easy to accept failures as part of learning.[2]

While 90% of young people in Malawi and Togo intend to start a business in the next 5 years, 88% in Senegal, only 47% of young people in South Africa intend to do the same.

Community Support

These interventions aim at fostering a more positive view of entrepreneurship in terms of status and career choice. Family, community, and more generally country’s inhabitants do not always have a positive view of entrepreneurs. Reasons can be that success stories are not visible, because innovation/creativity/ experimentation is not valued, or/and in some cases because wealth creation from the private sector is not well seen (social legitimacy). This encourages careers in traditional professions and reduces risk-seeking entrepreneurial behavior.

Policy Objectives Addressed Expected Impacts KPIs
  • Promoting entrepreneurship
  • More positive view of entrepreneurs and creativity
  • Increased risk-seeking behavior of entrepreneurs
  • Cultural support
Disseminate success stories: building community support through the dissemination of entrepreneurs' success stories.

Rwanda’s strategy includes the establishment of annual award schemes that recognize innovation and technology development.

Promote positive societal attitudes:  Encourage positive societal attitudes towards entrepreneurship through support towards national entrepreneurship competitions and awards

Youth Enterprise With Innovation In Nigeria (YouWin) is a government run contest that finances the best business plans for the aspiring entrepreneurs in Nigeria with an amount between  1 million to 10 million Naira.

Engage role models: building community support by celebrating role models in the community

Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa hosts a podcast series for business founders. They conduct a series of conversations with industry experts through podcasts to help and advice entrepreneurs on products, people, partnerships and branding.

Community Mobilisation: Promoting entrepreneurship opportunities at the national, regional and local level

Rwanda’s strategy includes the establishment of annual award schemes that recognize innovation and technology development.

Enhance the appeal of Entrepreneurship: Improve the appeal of entrepreneurship by legitimising its presence and establishing social acceptance

Kenya’ Micro and Small Enterprise Policy includes rebranding of the MSE’s sector to entrench entrepreneurship culture by establishing competition targeting the youth aimed at developing signature song and logo associated with Kenyan entrepreneurship.

Leverage Social Media Platforms: Building community support by leveraging social media and other communication tools and platforms

The African Union Commission (AUC) has rolled out an initiative “1 Million By 2021” which is aimed at reaching millions of youth from across the continent with opportunities and interventions in key areas of employment, entrepreneurship, education and engagement.

Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme [3]

  • Tony Elumelu Foundation launched a philanthropic programme to further drive entrepreneurship across the continent.
  • The purpose of the programme is to:
    • Identify 1,000 African startups and entrepreneurs every year who have ideas with the potential to address social and economic challenges in Africa;
    • Grow the capacity of the entrepreneurs through training, mentoring, access to relevant information and a strong alumni network; and
    • Provide initial seed capital of $10,000 each, to catalyze these businesses and position them for growth and profitability.
  • All recipients of the Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize will continue to be part of the Tony Elumelu Foundation network and have access to advice, resources and events held by the Foundation.


These interventions aim to stimulate entrepreneurs to share and exchange ideas and experiences with others. This will help entrepreneurs when their personal knowledge and ability to connect, cooperate and coordinate both in their home country and in the world (including with diaspora) are low and hence, identifying viable opportunities, accessing resources, and lobbying for change is more difficult for them.

Policy Objectives Addressed Expected Impacts KPIs
  • Promoting entrepreneurship
  • Increased innovation and creativity through cooperation
  • More efficient use of resources
  • Networking
Creating a platform for SMEs: promote grouping and cooperation between SMEs through the creation of an SME platform

Tanzania’s policy proposes strategies to support the establishment and strengthening of associations of SMEs, networking of SME service providers and the creation of an SME platform.

Geographical clustering in entrepreneurial cities: stimulate SMEs to locate themselves in geographical clusters in order to make it easier to cooperate and come up with new creative ideas and solutions to problems.

Konza Technopolis (KT) is a key flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic development pillar whose establishment is envisioned to create a world class smart city and area of innovation under the Ministry of Information Communications and Technology (MoICT).

Cross-border cooperation: Support cross border exchange of business knowledge  to create opportunities for identifying new business opportunities, business partners and new ways of doing business

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, is a cross-border exchange program that provides new or aspiring entrepreneurs in Europe an opportunity to learn from experienced entrepreneurs in other participating countries.

Support regional networking: Provide additional support or access to existing local and regional, African homegrown initiatives

Annual Rwandapreneurship Summit, under the Entrepreneurship Development Policy, Rwanda, would take place every year by The Ministry of Trade and Industry. It will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to network, share experiences, exhibit, pitch businesses, and participate in mentorship sessions.

Exchange across generations: Promote knowledge exchange between established  business people and aspiring young entrepreneurs

TAF Entrepreneurship Network in Gambia through its Networking and Mentorship Club engages young entreprepreneurs with veteran business tycoons. The event hosts discussions by a well experienced, and successful entrepreneur who shares his/her journey and lessons learned along the way with the young entrepreneurs.

Exchange across businesses: Promote knowledge exchange between established  businesses and early stage businesses

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action promotes better networking between medium-sized companies and start-ups through its workshop series "Start-up meets medium-sized companies”.

Youth Connekt Africa[4]

Group presentation
Youth Connekt Africa
  • Youth Connekt Africa hub is a Pan-African platform that seeks to empower young people through enhancing their knowledge, experiences and skills while investing in their ideas, innovations and initiatives.
  • YouthConnekt Africa hosts annual summits in partnership with African governments. The last one was conducted in Ghana in partnership with Ministry of Youth and Sports, and National Youth Authority.
  • The event allows hosts networking events among Entrepreneurs, youth leaders, innovators, students, artists, youth in diaspora and youth living with disabilities as well as between government and private stakeholders.
  • Some of its goals include
    • Creating 10 million jobs for the youth
    • Empowering 25 million youth with skills
    • Connecting 100 million young Africans
    • Nurturing 1 million leaders
    • Closing the Gender Gap

Women Entrepreneurship

These interventions focus on encouraging women entrepreneurship. Gender equality fuels growth by bringing women into the labor force and by raising women entrepreneurs, the overall level of human capital, productivity and wages. Women entrepreneurs add creativity and ideas to the market.

Policy Objectives Addressed Expected Impacts KPIs
  • Lifting of gender discrimination and barriers
  • Increase in the number of women entrepreneurs
  • Increase of women in management and power positions
  • Percent of firms with female participation in ownership
  • Gender equality index

Facilitate Access to Finance: Facilitate the development of women-friendly financial products and funds aimed at increasing financial inclusion

Where financing is concerned, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Nigeria propose the development of specific funds and specialized products by financial institutions for women, youth and other disadvantaged groups.

Inclusive public procurement: Assisting women to enter and operate successfully in government markets

Niger and Senegal laws ensure that during public contracting, a share of SME contracts is reserved for companies owned or managed directly by women. The Senegalese Small Business Act in particular, makes provision for 15% of public contracts to be allotted to recognized women-owned SMEs.

Ensure equal opportunities: Ensure women as well as entrepreneurs of all backgrounds are offered the same treatment and opportunities

Tanzania’s policy seeks to incorporate gender mainstreaming in all initiatives pertaining to SME development. The strategy is to encourage the participation of women and other disadvantaged groups in SME activities by identifying factors preventing them from going into business and design programs with service providers to address them.

Gender Responsive Initiatives: Enhance participation and outcomes for women by adopting programs that recognise gender specific challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.

Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents program implemented by BRAC in Uganda provided training on running a small business as well as education on health and risky behaviours.

Promote Social Protection: Ensure family and tax policies support women’s participation in the labour market.

The regulatory environment also plays a significant role in shaping women’s ability to get jobs and remain in the labor force after starting a family.  Liberia’s Decent Work Act of 2015 increased the duration of paid maternity leave to 14 weeks. In Western and Central Africa, 11 countries including Liberia, prohibit the dismissal of pregnant workers.

Promote positive social attitudes towards women’s entrepreneurship: Promote women entrepreneurship to counter gender stereotypes and build women’s self confidence.

Germany has implemented the “WOMEN unternehmen” initiative by using 140 role models to encourage women to implement their business ideas and set up companies. They have expanded the group of role models from the STEM, digital economy and industrial sectors.

The African Women in Business Initiative from the African Development Bank[5]

  • The African Women In Business (AWIB) responds to calls for empowering women entrepreneurs, particularly in the case of SMEs, through improved access to finance.
  • In this regard, the Department of Private Sector and Microfinance (OPSM), has developed integrated financing programs for the development of women's entrepreneurship, with the following goal:
    • contribute to a more equitable business environment for women entrepreneurs and strengthen their contribution to economic development ;
    • develop SME financing instruments and mechanisms to strengthen the financial market and help successful SMEs develop their activities.
  • The Initiative's Action Plans include conducting studies that assess the conditions and obstacles to both creating an enabling environment and promoting women's entrepreneurship development in Africa, and putting in place measures to improve the access of women-led SMEs to national, regional and international business networks.

Quotation mark.png

34.2% of female-led businesses in Nigeria did not record growth in the past year, with limited access to finance cited as the main constraint to growth.[6]

Culture KPIs - IconCulture KPIs

Sub Challenge Description Indicators Source
Personal development Captures personal entrepreneurial traits of the population, such as self-confidence, ambition, non-fear of failure and the ability to identify good opportunities. These traits are important to decide to become an entrepreneur. Non-fear of failure/Risk acceptance
Opportunity startup
Community support Provides a picture of the country’s beliefs with respect to entrepreneurship. A positive view of entrepreneurs in terms of status and career choice, encourages careers in the private sector and starting a business, fostering risk-seeking entrepreneurial behavior. Cultural support
Networking Measures the extent to which entrepreneurs’ access and mobilize opportunities and resources and the ease of access to reach each other. A strong network helps find the right resources and fosters creativity. Networking
Community support Tracks the availability of women entrepreneurs and female opportunities. Gender equality fuels growth by bringing women into the labor force and by raising women entrepreneurs, the overall level of human capital, productivity and wages. Women entrepreneurs add creativity and ideas to the market. Percent of firms with female participation in ownership
Gender equality index

Further Reading

Continue to:

Infrastructure KPIs - Icon

  1. UNESCO (2001). UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Paris: UNESCO.
  2. Ichikowitz Family Foundation (2020). African Youth Survey 2020 – The Rise of Afro-Optimism.
  3. Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme,
  4. Youth Connekt Africa,  
  5. The African Women in Business Initiative,The African Development Bank.
  6. 1 The FATE Institute (2021). State of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria Report.