In developed regions, the body of knowledge of general entrepreneurship in the sales, services and technology-based business domains, is well researched and established. This is not the case with technological entrepreneurship in developing regions. Little is known about the entrepreneur, new venture creation and growth processes of technology-based enterprises in emerging regions. This research project studied a sample frame of practising technological entrepreneurs in a multi-cultural province within an emerging economic region. Data was collected from 210 entrepreneurs who have founded and still manage a technology-based enterprise in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Over 25,000 data points were collected through questionnaires and were statistically analysed, using multiple regression and model building analysis techniques. A control study of 167 post-graduate students at the University of Pretoria was also done. A representative profile was developed from a frequency distribution analysis of the survey sample. This profile was compared with that of a similar survey sample of entrepreneurs in high-technology spin-off companies in a developed region. The results culminated in a three-part model that identifies the most prominent external influences on the technological entrepreneur, the new venture creation process and the mature enterprise. Inferences of hypotheses, as well as several conclusions, were made from the results on the following contemporary issues: 1) cultural heritage; 2) the first-born debate; 3) the self-employed status of parents; 4) financing of the new technological enterprise and 5) training in entrepreneurship. Policy makers could use these results to develop technological entrepreneurship in emerging regions.
Thesis (PhD (Engineering Management))--University of Pretoria, 2006.