Globally, small and medium enterprises (SME) entrepreneurs were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent measures such as lockdowns and market closures. Africa was no exception. Entrepreneurial intentions and activities were expected to have a broad downturn with established entrepreneurs being forced to downsize or quit their businesses, while fewer novel entrepreneurs entered the market and started their own companies. At the same time, entrepreneurship is considered one of the few viable options to ensure an income during uncertain economic times. Furthermore, the Covid-19 crisis was said to drive innovation and technological advancements globally, and perhaps even more so in Africa due to its young demographic.
This edited volume includes insights gathered during the 2021 NVAS Africa Day which had the theme: ‘entrepreneurial responses to Covid-19 in Africa.’ This volume shines a light on two broader themes: entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial resilience in Africa in times of Covid-19. The conference was organized by NVAS (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Afrikastudies) and the African Studies Centre of Leiden University.
The first two chapters consider whether the pandemic and its broader consequences increase entrepreneurial intentions. Is entrepreneurship a pathway out of the crisis for individuals, providing an income and financial stability in a stressed labour market? Or have individuals turned away from entrepreneurship due to the risk and a lack of start-up funds and subsequent investments? The final two chapters consider how the Covid-19 pandemic spurred entrepreneurial resilience and innovation in terms of new products, markets, and strategies. Together, these studies provide a cross-sectional and cross-methodological anthology of entrepreneurial responses to Covid-19 in Africa.
With contributions from Neema Komba, Chanyoung Park, Lotte-Marie Brouwer, Magnus Godvik Ekeland, Hanaâ Benchrifa, Steven Kator Iorfa and Maud van Merriënboer.