n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Young entrepreneurs' experiences of navigating their success

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1727-7140



One of the pathways out of youth unemployment is purported to be youth initiated business development. While the range of difficulties related to establishing small businesses has been widely documented, less is known about the ordinary experiences of young people who have successfully transitioned into work through small business development. We undertook a pilot instrumental case study to find out how the agency of young people is activated and supported to advance successful enterprises. Purposive sampling was applied to select three young business owners in three rural towns in the Western Cape. Two semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with each business owner and one interview with a key mentor chosen by each young person. The findings focus on the relationship between the personal and social factors that contributed to opportunities for these young people. We also highlight key achievements, from the perspective of the young business owners, which do not point to financial success but to the value the owners place on their increased social standing and the social wellbeing their business has promoted in their home communities. Recommendations are made for the consideration of researchers, policy makers and providers of support for young business owners.

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