The nexus of social capital, coping ability and employment creation in African immigrant-owned small businesses


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Immigrant entrepreneurship, like other facets of entrepreneurship, contributes towards a country’s productivity, partly through employment creation. However, the specific factors, in the form of social capital, that lend themselves to this employment creation potential, remain largely unknown. It is against this background that this study sought to determine if the variables of language proficiency and networking ability bear an association with the employment creation ability of African immigrant entrepreneurs.
This quantitative study was executed from a positivism philosophical standpoint. Relying on the population of African immigrants in the small business sector in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, the non-probability sampling techniques of convenience and snowball sampling were used to identify 2,500 participants. Data were collected in a cross-sectional manner, with self-administered questionnaires and an effective 33% response rate was realized.
Findings reveal a statistically significant relationship between language proficiency and employment creation, while that between networking ability and employment creation was not significant. Nonetheless, most of the studied African immigrant entrepreneurs across the countries agreed that language proficiency and networking ability have helped them cope with the rigors of operating their businesses. These findings signal the need for interventions for building language proficiency and networking ability for African immigrant entrepreneurs.

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    • Table 1. Gender profile of respondents
    • Table 2. Age groups
    • Table 3. Descriptive statistics for age by country
    • Table 4. Country-specific ANOVA results for the variables of language proficiency (LP) and Networking ability (NA)
    • Table 5. Post-hoc tests for cross-country perceptions of the contributing roles of LP and NA to the coping ability of African immigrant entrepreneurs
    • Table 6. Results of analysis of relationship between independent and dependent variables