The Role of Social Networks in Supporting Micro and Small Entrepreneurship in Malawi

In rural Malawi, the youth have no access to credit and limited access to entrepreneurship training. Despite alienation from Microfinance institutions, there are many Micro and Small Enterprises operating in the rural informal sector. This study aims to understand how these entrepreneurs acquire the resources to engage in micro and small enterprises. I investigated the role that social networks play in providing the necessary inspiration, skills and resources for rural young people to participate in entrepreneurship. I used semi-structured interviews, group discussions, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews to collect field data in Mpemba located in Blantyre district, the southern region of Malawi. Social networks were responsible for socialising young people to desire entrepreneurship by transferring the necessary skills, social capital and resources. Moreover, social groups like Bank Nkhonde, church, helped develop social networks which were important in mentoring young people to grow and save finances for investment. The culture has allowed social networks to be relevant as the transactions involved in the networks are backed by cultural obligations and expectations. Social networks act also as a safety net in times of crisis for communities.

About me

James Kumdana Rural Development and Natural Resource Management

I am passionate about building resilient livelihoods in rural communities especially due to climate change effects on rainfed agriculture. I would like to work with organisations which have reducing poverty and hunger as their ultimate goal.