UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Tim Weiss, Stanford, to host a seminar discussing ‘Entrepreneuring in the global south: Kenya’s emerging technology sector’
The recent emergence of information and communications technology sectors in countries of the Global South has come with hopes of rapid economic and institutional development, and integration with a global digital economy. These entrepreneurial sectors are easily misunderstood as extensions either of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial models or of established local institutions. Based on an immersive qualitative study of Kenya’s Silicon Savannah, we suggest instead that these emergent sectors represents a case of interstitial entrepreneurship — entrepreneurial efforts in the space between mature fields, where institutional influences are indirect and unsettled. We analyzed how technology entrepreneurship in Kenya is performed in practice with reference to the concept of entrepreneuring and found six distinct entrepreneuring approaches, as alternative ways of recombining institutional resources into cultural prototypes. Each entrepreneuring approach affects the structuration of the nascent sector and is conditioned by the immediate cultural resources available to entrepreneurs at the moment of action. Our analysis sheds light on an understudied phenomenon of the global economy and advances research at the intersection of institutional theory and entrepreneurship, by theorizing how diverse entrepreneurial approaches are generated at the very early stages of interstitial emergence.