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Journal cover: Society and Business Review

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Online from: 2006

Subject Area: Business Ethics and Law

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Religion, spirituality and entrepreneurship: The church as entrepreneurial space among British Africans


Document Information:
Title:Religion, spirituality and entrepreneurship: The church as entrepreneurial space among British Africans
Author(s):Sonny Nwankwo, (Royal Docks Business School, University of East London, London, UK), Ayantunji Gbadamosi, (Royal Docks Business School, University of East London, London, UK), Sanya Ojo, (Royal Docks Business School, University of East London, London, UK)
Citation:Sonny Nwankwo, Ayantunji Gbadamosi, Sanya Ojo, (2012) "Religion, spirituality and entrepreneurship: The church as entrepreneurial space among British Africans", Society and Business Review, Vol. 7 Iss: 2, pp.149 - 167
Keywords:British Africans, Entrepreneurialism, Entrepreneurship, Ethnic entrepreneurs, London, Religion, Spirituality, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17465681211237619 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the intricate interconnection between religion, spirituality and pursuits of economic opportunities among ethnic entrepreneurs, using British Africans as a frame. Against the backcloth of institutional constraints confronting ethnic minorities, the paper investigates how African immigrants in the UK utilise ethnic-based religious resources in the enactment of entrepreneurship. It focuses on the intersection between religion, spirituality, and entrepreneurship for the purpose of providing “below the surface” understandings of African entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach – Rooted in the context of discovery rather than verification, the research approach involved the use of a focus group as an “entry point” in the collection of field data. This was followed up with one-to-one interviews so that key issues were then probed deeper whilst simultaneously allowing considerable scope to idiosyncratically explore particular meanings with research participants. The sample was drawn from British Africans in London.

Findings – African Pentecostal churches have become a significant force in nurturing business start-ups and encouraging entrepreneurship among the population group. Social capital generated within the religious organizations has a catalytic effect on entrepreneurial propensities.

Research limitations/implications – The boundaries between enterprise and religion can be delicately thin and confusing, with wide-ranging implications for policy interventions. For the entrepreneurs, reconciling religious orientation with the imperatives of entrepreneurship can be hugely problematic and this presents an opportunity in terms of support needs.

Originality/value – Ethnic-based religious spaces have become a fecund ground for stimulating a brand of religion-based ethnic entrepreneurship. This hybrid entrepreneurship is unique and offers a novel platform for constructing new understandings of ethnic entrepreneurship.



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