This study explores Social Capital Theory. For the benefit of the business community it examines the role of social networking sites (SNS) in the accumulation and management of social capital for Black women entrepreneurs. This research project explores whether social media and technology have enabled a previously disadvantaged minority group to overcome their obstacles, particularly the lack of access networks that offer value. Significant research has been done on academic Social Capital Theory, but what remains understudied is the link between social capital and social networking sites, especially for minority and indigenous groups in Africa. The research is also applicable to other minority groups globally - adding value to Social Capital Theory in the context of a growing interest in knowledge economies, entrepreneurship and technology. The study makes a contribution to academic research and has implications for both policy and practice.
The research is exploratory in nature and therefore applies a qualitative research methodology. It applies in-depth interviews with Black women entrepreneurs from different industries, and age groups to extract quality data that is analysed against theoretical propositions derived from the literature.
Bridging and bonding social capital are unique in how they empower entrepreneurs. Black women are a minority group because of cultural and historical consequences. As a result women are more disadvantaged than men, and minority women are more disadvantaged than white women. Negative stereotypes prejudice Black women from getting equal access to opportunities and resources. SNS, which is geared to accumulating bridging social capital, has the ability to empower Black women entrepreneurs to overcome these challenges. However, instead of using SNS for building bridging social capital - more essential for business growth - Black women entrepreneurs tend to use SNS to deepen bonding social capital which yields support and motivation. The potential value in SNS use should encourage Black women entrepreneurs to invest more resources in learning how to optimise SNS. Although SNS and government empowerment policies are contributing to equalizing access and use of social capital between different genders and races, men and the White business community still have an advantage. Future studies should consider exploring how generation theory and various social-economic issues affect accumulation and use of social capital through SNS use for minority groups