Entrepreneurship is an important element in the world of business due to the critical role it plays in economic growth and innovation. Yet, in the context of emerging markets little is known about the skills, human and social capital required to be an entrepreneur. Paid employment provides individuals with an opportunity to learn, develop networks, gain experience and accumulate financial capital. Collectively, these career outcomes can be defined as career capital. It has also been established that voluntary transitions from paid employment to entrepreneurship are common. The objective of this research study is to gain a better understanding of the elements of career capital that can be harnessed to enhance the likelihood of success in a new entrepreneurial venture.
A qualitative, exploratory research method was adopted. A total of 15 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with corporate executives and or managers that have transitioned their careers from paid employment to entrepreneurship from 8 different industries. Each interview was analysed by means of thematic content analysis.
The findings advance the existing career capital literature with respect to the transition from corporate life to entrepreneurship in the following ways. Social capital with specific reference to networks and trust are identified as key enablers for new venture creation. Secondly, the broadening of business skills is a key element of career capital that must be acquired while the corporate Òway of workingÓ is not considered useful in entrepreneurship. The third major finding is that entrepreneurial learning is a continuous process enabled by a growth mindset with assistance from networks while unlearning may take longer to achieve. Both learning and unlearning of the components of career capital are shown to enhance both business growth and effectiveness and enhance identity capital at an individual level.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.