March, 2017 | Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
GEC 2017 | By Fredell Jacobs

GEC 2017 | By Fredell Jacobs

For the very first time on African soil, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress arrived with a key message, “entrepreneurship, innovation and disruption will continue to drive economic growth and development”. The theme Digital Disruption facilitated rich debate on how technology can serve as a catalyst for economic growth while it showcased disruption in action with examples from Adrian Gore on how Discovery disrupted the medical aid industry and continues to do so in the financial services sector. Disruptions also translate very neatly into the entrepreneurial process, where entrepreneurs continue to forge new ways to exploit market opportunities and create value and Africa presents a multitude of opportunities.

At the GEC, the Foundation led the panel on Entrepreneurial Mindset and publicly shared our progress since the GEC+ in Daegu in 2016. The panel allowed us to clearly state the purpose of the project, its overall mission and it was rewarding to see how many people are interested in contributing to the research. The purpose of this GERN research project is to develop a shared understanding of entrepreneurial mindset and a universal methodology to measure it across all 160 member countries.

As an introduction we presented a chronological literature review, the academic framework and the seminal roots that flow from behavioural, cognitive and social psychology. The process and methodology for the design of the entrepreneurial mindset survey instrument was also covered before the panel shared some of the practical challenges of the project.

Audience participation presented very exciting questions about entrepreneurial mindset and it was evident that people are interested in both the academic and practical implications of entrepreneurial mindset. What stood out for me was a question from an entrepreneur in the audience about recruiting and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. It was a welcome reminder about the practical value of this research and the context for application. At the same time, it was encouraging to hear another voice in support of what is core to the Foundation’s selection methodology.

The GEC+ Cape Town offered a more intimate opportunity for GERN members to understand the project in its current form. We also encouraged contributions from the GERN community and shared how GERN Countries can participate in the future. The highlight of the GEC+ Cape Town that must be celebrated is the fact that Victor Hwang, Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, agrees on the importance of entrepreneurial mindset as a research agenda item and this will certainly open more doors for global collaboration to deliver on our end goal.

The GEC+ also drew inspiration from design thinking to craft solutions that will serve as enablers in the global entrepreneurship ecosystem. Design thinking was used to “crowd source” current challenges and solutions from a group of highly qualified ecosystem practitioners to ensure a holistic understanding of how specific conditions affect ecosystem development.

The final day of the GEC+ Cape Town at Philippi Village offered GERN members an immersive experience of the local ecosystem and we were able to explore how to ensure equitable growth and development. It was encouraging to see and experience the application of GERN research with the presentation of practical solutions for the local community to access entrepreneurship capacity development opportunities in the local ecosystem. It was a great manifestation of our theme, Entrepreneurial Mindset in Action!


South Africa ranked one of Africa’s top entrepreneurial nations  

South Africa ranked one of Africa’s top entrepreneurial nations  

March 2017: South Africa has been named one of sub-Saharan Africa’s entrepreneurial frontrunners, after a global report placed the country in second place, after African counterpart Botswana.

According to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of South Africa: A Strategy for Global Leadership Report, researched and produced by the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI) – a research organisation that studies entrepreneurship and economic development – with support from SEA Africa (local organisers of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress), South Africa’s entrepreneurs continue to make good strides with entrepreneurial activity. The report was commissioned by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and the South African Breweries (SAB) Foundation. These two leading local foundations, which are committed to developing entrepreneurship in South Africa, commissioned the report in order to better understand the role that entrepreneurship is playing in the country. The intention was also to benchmark South Africa globally, celebrate achievements and strengths, and to assess areas for improvement so as to know how best to guide resources and policy in the coming years.

The report states that entrepreneurs in South Africa have overcome structural factors, including the country’s slow GDP growth rate and the number of large firms dominating the business market to produce some of the most successful enterprises on the continent. The country is poised to achieve further growth in years to come through entrepreneurship and indicates that South Africa is on par with other middle income countries around the world when it comes to entrepreneurship, and provides the institutional support necessary for high-growth businesses to startup and thrive. South Africa was ranked 55 out of the 137 countries surveyed globally. The ranking places Botswana in first place from Africa, followed by South Africa, Namibia, Gabon and Ghana.

“The report confirms South Africa’s position as an entrepreneurial leader on the continent and provides an insightful road map for us to focus in on those areas that will provide the greatest leverage for accelerating our entrepreneurial ecosystem even further,” says Anthony Farr, CEO Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

“We work with approximately 80 new entrepreneurs every year and have positive experiences of innovation and growth, along with a well-developed (if a little fragmented) entrepreneurship ecosystem. We have struggled to reconcile this with some misconceptions regarding South Africa’s lack of entrepreneurship and our perceived poor performance against other countries.  Along with Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, we wanted to give an alternative view. We are pleased with the results, which show that South Africans can congratulate themselves and be proud of what has been achieved in the entrepreneurial space, while still being realistic about what needs to improve in order to drive economic growth and job creation,” says SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans.

The  findings highlight South Africa’s positive performance in entrepreneurial aspirations, innovation, high growth, internationalisation and risk capital, all considered important elements to achieve economic growth in the country. It further states that SA provides better conditions for entrepreneurship when compared to 20 other countries with a higher per capita GDP, including Russia, Mexico, Brazil and China.

The GEDI report covered 28 countries in the Africa region, which amounted to 54 percent in total. The report demonstrates the country’s position globally when it comes to new businesses, competitor position, new businesses offering new products and new businesses using new technology, and ranked the country in the top 25 percent of countries surveyed globally in these areas. But stumbling blocks exists, and factors such as finance, skills, access to local and international markets, education and the right network need to be addressed to ensure that South African entrepreneurs are able to grow and thrive.

The report suggests that South Africa needs better, innovative and growth-orientated entrepreneurs who are motivated to grow and prosper within the South African environment and through constant engagement with the global economy.

“Top actions that could strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem include helping more entrepreneurs get the skills they need, expand access to banking, particularly mobile banking and accelerating technology absorption, with a focus on digital technology,” the report says.

Research Infographic: Click here

The entrepreneurial ecosystem of South Africa: A strategy for global leadership



The link between entrepreneurial intention and becoming an entrepreneur | By: Teri Richter

The link between entrepreneurial intention and becoming an entrepreneur | By: Teri Richter

AGO_Scholar Selec Camp014Entrepreneurial intention is the internal motivation and positive perception of starting a business. Theoretically, it is understood that high individual entrepreneurial intention leads to higher probability of starting a new venture. Azjen’s (2002) Theory of Planned Behaviour suggests that intention for a certain behaviour is directly related to the probability of exhibiting the actual behaviour. For entrepreneurship, this implies that the more an individual wants to become an entrepreneur and sees this behaviour or career path as attractive, the more likely the that the individual will become an entrepreneur and start their own venture.

This means that the ability to measure the presence of entrepreneurial intention enables organisations such as the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation to identify which individuals exhibit high levels of intention and how this changes throughout their entrepreneurial journey. However, more importantly than measuring current entrepreneurial intention is understanding how one is able to influence and improve entrepreneurial intention. As per the Theory of Planned Behaviour, intention is determined by various factors as shown in Figure 1 and described below:

  • Subjective norms – including what the people who are close to you including friends and family think of the behaviour
  • Personal attitudes or attractions – referring to whether one personally thinks the behaviour is positive or negative and the potential consequences of the behaviour
  • Perceived behaviour control – referring to one’s personal capabilities in relation to the behaviour.

Additional research has built on these antecedents to include:

  • Personality – including aspects of optimism, innovativeness, appetite for risk taking, self efficacy, need for achievement, proactiveness and an internal locus of control
  • Family background – including familial remodelling of entrepreneurship
  • Social environment factors – including the influence of different cultural practices on an individuals’ desire to become an entrepreneur
  • Economic and political conditions – including the laws and practices of a country as well as existing economic opportunities within the country.
  • Entrepreneurial education and training – although studies have showed mixed results in terms of shifting entrepreneurial intention and Ozaralli et all emphasise the need to educate individuals for entrepreneurship rather than about entrepreneurship.

It must of course be noted that these are not an exclusive list of contributing factors to entrepreneurial intention, nor that these factors cannot be overcome – but that they can create barriers or bridges for individuals in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.47.10 AM

Figure 1: Suggested Theory of Planned Behaviour model for Entrepreneurial Intention

As noted, although measurement presents the opportunity to gauge intention among individuals, Theory of Planned Behaviour suggests ways of developing entrepreneurial intention – which becomes invaluable to entrepreneurial development initiatives. Research suggests that key ways of influencing and developing entrepreneurial intention lie in:

  • Exposing individuals to entrepreneurial education and training to enhance their perceptions of their ability and behaviour control,
  • Exposing individuals to other cultures to enhance innovative thinking and introduce a variety cultural values that encourage entrepreneurship,
  • Exposing individuals to new experiences to enhance cognitive diversity and creativity,
  • Minimising perceived barriers to entry through advocacy and education around economic and political conditions.

Entrepreneurial intention at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
The Foundation recognises the importance of entrepreneurial intention within the Scholars, Candidate Fellows and Fellows community. Entrepreneurial intention and the value thereof is measured and developed differently throughout the programme.

At Scholarship level the focus is on emphasising the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset and giving Scholars an understanding of what entrepreneurship can look like outside of expected conventions. The Foundation understands that during the Scholarship phase, individuals are learning about their own passions and future career paths rather than already committing to one. Despite this, the Scholarship’s 2016 Grade 10, 11 and 12 cohorts showed an 87% favourable response to their intentions to become entrepreneurs within the next 10 to 15 years.

At Fellowship level the presence of entrepreneurial intention is more important for selection into the programme. It is highly desirable, if not necessary, for Candidate Fellows and ultimately Fellows to show high levels of entrepreneurial intention. The programme develops entrepreneurial intention actively through the Fellowship’s entrepreneurial development programme.

At Association level, encouraging entrepreneurial actualisation in individuals who self report low levels of entrepreneurial intention could become challenging, where motivating and developing intention becomes more and more difficult.

AGO_Scholar Selec Camp178It can be argued that some success stories have become entrepreneurs without consciously choosing their path. However, the concept of entrepreneurial intention and theory of planned behaviour suggests that planned behaviour, such as career choices, are based on deliberate and conscious decisions and informed by our personal circumstances and history, our perceived attractiveness of the possibility and our estimated ability to achieve. This suggests that ultimately, a minimum benchmark for entrepreneurial intention must be present at entry into the Fellowship programme, which can in turn be nurtured and cultivated during the four years in the programme. Conversely, an absence of entrepreneurial intention will lead to overwhelming barriers at the Association phase. The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is committed to further research to formalise internal targets for benchmarks as well as enhance measurement tools of entrepreneurial intention.

Ajzen, I. (2002). Perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy, locus of control, and the theory of planned behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 1–20.
Ozaralli N., & Nancy K. Rivenburgh, N.K., 2016. Entrepreneurial intention: antecedents to entrepreneurial behavior in the U.S.A. and Turkey. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research (6:3). Accessed at
Peng, Z., Lu, G., & Kang, H., 2012. Entrepreneurial intentions and its influencing factors: A survey of university students in Xi’an China. Scientific Research (Vol 3: p. 95 – 100). Accessed at
Remeikiene, R., Startiene, G., & Dumciuviene, D., 2013. Explaining entrepreneurial intention of university students: The role of entrepreneurial education. Management, Knowledge and Learning International Conference 2013. Accessed at

× How can we help you?