Article    Peer-Reviewed
Open
Peer Review

Young Women as Social Entrepreneurs in the Environmental Sector in Ghana: Development Hackers and the Re-imagining of Sustainable Development Models

Anastasia-Alithia Seferiadis 1,* , Sarah Cummings 2 and George Essegbey 3
1
Aix Marseille Univ, IRD, LPED, Marseille, France
2
Knowledge, Technology & Innovation Group (KTI), Wageningen University & Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
3
CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), Accra, Ghana
*
For correspondence.
Academic Editor: Fausto Cavallaro
Highlights of Sustainability, 2023, 2(3), 157–170.
Received: 21 November 2022    Accepted: 17 July 2023    Published: 25 July 2023
Abstract
The article considers the extent to which social entrepreneurship of young women is contributing to sustainable development in Ghana, based on field research conducted between October 2018 and April 2019. Data collection involved a review of the literature and a questionnaire survey of actors within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ghana but is primarily based on the life histories of 13 women entrepreneurs collected using in-depth semi-structured interviews. Social entrepreneurship is undergoing a boom in Ghana which is characterized as having the most entrepreneurs as a proportion of the population globally and with women outnumbering men. Critical discourse analysis was employed to highlight the potential difference between grand narratives of entrepreneurship for development—how it is supposed to work, and how it is working in practice for young women social entrepreneurs in Ghana. The life histories demonstrate that the social entrepreneurship of young women in Ghana does not appear to be contributing to sustainable development because the enterprises yielded small or non-existent economic benefits for the entrepreneurs, demonstrating the limitations of this framework in the Ghanaian context. Indeed, most of the enterprises do not go beyond the ideation stage while the fame of winning social entrepreneurship competitions is used by individuals to build social and symbolic capital for employment by the public sector and the United Nations. In this way, young women are “hacking” social entrepreneurship for their own purposes as it is one of the opportunities open to them but it does not lead to sustainable enterprises. While the social entrepreneurship sector in Ghana is booming, it appears in reality to be a survival activity for women who are subject to gender inequalities and social-cultural harassment.
Keywords
Copyright © 2023 Seferiadis et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use and distribution provided that the original work is properly cited.
Funding
Anastasia Seferiadis’ contribution to this research was funded by the Foundation Croix Rouge via the Fond de dotation de la Compagnie Fruitière. Sarah Cummings’ contribution was funded by the Netherlands Research Council (NWO) grant “From philosophy to action and back again: addressing epistemic justice in the real world of international development” (406.XS.01.054).
Cite this Article
Seferiadis, A.-A., Cummings, S., & Essegbey, G. (2023). Young Women as Social Entrepreneurs in the Environmental Sector in Ghana: Development Hackers and the Re-imagining of Sustainable Development Models. Highlights of Sustainability, 2(3), 157–170. https://doi.org/10.54175/hsustain2030012
References
1.
Austin, J., Stevenson, H., & Wei-Skillern, J. (2006). Social and commercial entrepreneurship: same, different, or both? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6520.2006.00107.x
2.
Cagarman, K., Kratzer, J., & Osbelt, K. (2020). Social entrepreneurship: dissection of a phenomenon through a German lens. Sustainability, 12(18), 7764. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187764
3.
Zahra, S. A., Gedajlovic, E., Neubaum, D. O., & Shulman, J. M. (2009). A typology of social entrepreneurs: Motives, search processes and ethical challenges. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(5), 519–532. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2008.04.007
4.
Thompson, N., Kiefer, K., & York, J. G. (2011). Distinctions not dichotomies: Exploring social, sustainable, and environmental entrepreneurship. In G. T. Lumpkin & J. A. Katz (Eds.), Social and sustainable entrepreneurship (Vol. 13, pp. 201–229). Emerald. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1074-7540(2011)0000013012
5.
Maas, J., Seferiadis, A. A., Bunders, J. F., & Zweekhorst, M. B. (2014). Social entrepreneurial leadership: creating opportunities for autonomy. In P. H. Phan, J. Kickul, S. Bacq, & M. Nordqvist (Eds.), Theory And Empirical Research In Social Entrepreneurship (pp. 223–255). Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781782546832.00015
6.
Mair, J., & Marti, I. (2006). Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight. Journal of World Business, 41(1), 36–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2005.09.002
7.
United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld/publication (accessed 24 July 2023).
8.
Lubberink, R. (2019). Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development. In W. Leal Filho, A. Azul, L. Brandli, P. özuyar, & T. Wall (Eds.), Decent Work and Economic Growth. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham.
9.
Fowler, A. (2000). NGO futures: Beyond aid: NGDO values and the fourth position. Third World Quarterly, 21(4), 589–603. https://doi.org/10.1080/713701065
10.
Choi, N., & Majumdar, S. (2014). Social entrepreneurship as an essentially contested concept: Opening a new avenue for systematic future research. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(3), 363–376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2013.05.001
11.
Abuhussein, T., & Koburtay, T. (2021). Opportunities and constraints of women entrepreneurs in Jordan: an update of the 5Ms framework. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 27(6), 1448–1475. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-06-2020-0428
12.
Cummings, S. J. R., & Lopez, D. E. (2023). Interrogating “entrepreneurship for development”: a counter-narrative based on local stories of women in rural Ethiopia. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 15(1), 22–43. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-02-2022-0021
13.
Bruder, I. (2020). A social mission is not enough: reflecting the normative foundations of social entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 174(3), 487–505. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04602-5
14.
Rivera-Santos, M., Holt, D., Littlewood, D., & Kolk, A. (2015). Social entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(1), 72–91.
15.
Herrington, M., & Kelley, D. (2012) African Entrepreneurship: Sub-Saharan African Regional Report. GEM, IDRC/CDRI, Canada.
16.
Sajjad, M., Kaleem, N., Chani, M. I., & Ahmed, M. (2020). Worldwide role of women entrepreneurs in economic development. Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 14(2), 151–160. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJIE-06-2019-0041
17.
Dey, P., & Teasdale, S. (2016), The tactical mimicry of social enterprise strategies: Acting ‘as if’ in the everyday life of third sector organizations. Organization, 23(4), 485–504. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508415570689
18.
Cummings, S., Seferiadis, A.-A., & de Haan, L. (2019). Getting down to business? Critical discourse analysis of perspectives on the private sector in sustainable development. Sustainable Development, 28(4), 759–771. https://doi.org/10.1002/sd.2026
19.
Apostu, S.-A., & Gigauri, I. (2023). Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship in Emerging Countries: Are Sustaina-ble Development and Entrepreneurship Reciprocally Reinforcing? Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 19(1), 41–77. https://doi.org/10.7341/20231912
20.
Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Oxford University Press.
21.
Johnsen, C. G., & Sørensen, B. M. (2017). Traversing the fantasy of the heroic entrepreneur. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 23(2), 228–244. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-01-2016-0032
22.
Ogbor, J. O. (2000). Mythicizing and reification in entrepreneurial discourse: Ideology‐critique of entrepreneurial studies. Journal of Management Studies, 37(5), 605–635. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6486.00196
23.
Ahl, H. J. (2002). The making of the female entrepreneur: a discourse analysis of research texts on women’s entrepreneurship [Doctoral dissertation, Jönköping International Business School]. DiVA portal. http://hj.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A3890&dswid=1902
24.
Dey, P., & Steyaert, C. (2010). The politics of narrating social entrepreneurship. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, 4(1), 85–108. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506201011029528
25.
Draperi, J.-F. (2010). L’entrepreneuriat social, un mouvement de pensée inscrit dans le capitalisme (in French). Revue internationale d’économie sociale, 1–14.
26.
Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2005). Social entrepreneurship: Creating new business models to serve the poor. Business Horizons, 48(3), 241–246. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2004.11.006
27.
Mair, J., & Marti, I. (2007). Entrepreneurship for social impact: Encouraging market access in rural Bangladesh. Corporate Governance, 7(4), 493-501. https://doi.org/10.1108/14720700710820579
28.
Clark Muntean, S., & Ozkazanc-Pan, B. (2016). Feminist perspectives on social entrepreneurship: critique and new directions. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 8(3), 221–241. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-10-2014-0034
29.
Ojok, D. (20 Mar 2015). Is social entrepreneurship the magic bullet for African development? LSE Entrepreneurship Blog. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/83282/1/Is%20social%20entrepreneurship%20the%20magic%20bullet%20for%20African%20development_%20_%20LSE%20Entrepreneurship.pdf (accessed 3 June 2021).
30.
Huysentruyt, M. (2014). Women’s social entrepreneurship and innovation. In OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) (Papers 2014/01). https://doi.org/10.1787/5jxzkq2sr7d4-en
31.
Lortie, J., Castrogiovanni, G. J., & Cox, K. C. (2017). Gender, social salience, and social performance: how women pursue and perform in social ventures. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 29(1–2), 155–173. https://doi.org/10.1080/08985626.2016.1255433
32.
Byrne, J., Fattoum, S., & Diaz Garcia, M. C. (2019). Role models and women entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurial superwoman has her say. Journal of Small Business Management, 57(1), 154–184. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12426
33.
Saari, U. A., & Joensuu-Salo, S. (2020). Green Entrepreneurship. In W. Leal Filho, A. M. Azul, L. Brandli, P. G. özuyar, & T. Wall (Eds.), Responsible Consumption and Production. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95726-5_6
34.
Kirkwood, J., & Walton, S. (2010). What motivates ecopreneurs to start businesses? International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 16(3), 204–228. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552551011042799
35.
Dean, T. J., & McMullen, J. S. (2007). Toward a theory of sustainable entrepreneurship: Reducing environmental degrada-tion through entrepreneurial action. Journal of Business Venturing, 22(1), 50–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2005.09.003
36.
Muñoz, P., & Cohen, B. (2018). Sustainable entrepreneurship research: Taking stock and looking ahead. Business Strategy and the Environment, 27(3), 300–322. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2000
37.
Dixon, S. E., & Clifford, A. (2007). Ecopreneurship—a new approach to managing the triple bottom line. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 20(3), 326—345. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534810710740164
38.
Gibbs, D. (2006). Sustainability entrepreneurs, ecopreneurs and the development of a sustainable economy. Greener Management International, 55, 63–78.
39.
Taylor, D. W., & Walley, E. E. (2004). The green entrepreneur: opportunist, maverick or visionary? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 1(1–2), 56–69. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJESB.2004.005377
40.
Meek, W. R., Pacheco, D. F., & York, J. G. (2010). The impact of social norms on entrepreneurial action: Evidence from the environmental entrepreneurship context. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(5), 493–509. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2009.09.007
41.
Schaltegger, S., & Wagner, M. (2011). Sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation: categories and interactions. Business Strategy and the Environment, 20(4), 222–237. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.682
42.
Rosário, A. T., Raimundo, R. J., & Cruz, S. P. (2022). Sustainable Entrepreneurship: a literature review. Sustainability, 14(9), 5556. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095556
43.
Sarango-Lalangui, P., Santos, J. L. S., & Hormiga, E. (2018). The development of sustainable entrepreneurship research field. Sustainability, 10(6), 2005. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062005
44.
Hummels, H., & Argyrou, A. (2021). Planetary demands: Redefining sustainable development and sustainable entrepreneurship. Journal of Cleaner Production, 278, 123804. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123804
45.
Rashid, L. (2022). Bursting the bubble: why sustainability initiatives often lack adequate intention to action translation. Small Business Economics, 59, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-022-00599-5
46.
Audretsch, D. B. (2021). Have we oversold the Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship? Small Business Economics, 56, 849–856. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-019-00272-4
47.
Foucault, M. (1969). L’Archéologie du savoir (in French). Gallimard.
48.
Burr, V. (1995). An introduction to social constructionism. Routledge.
49.
Fairclough, N. (2012). Critical Discourse Analysis. In J. P. Gee & M. Handford (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 9–21). Routledge.
50.
van Dijk, T. A. (2005). Critical Discourse Analysis. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.), The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Blackwell.
51.
Seferiadis, A.-A., de Haan, L., & Cummings, S. (2021). Feminist critical discourse analysis of ecopreneurship as an instrument for sustainable development: grand narratives, local stories. In A. C. Poveda & C. I. Pardo (Eds.), Martinez Environmental sustainability and development in organizations: Challenges and new strategies (pp. 1–17). Science.
52.
Cummings, S., de Haan, L., & Seferiadis, A.-A. (2020). Tools and Methods. How to use critical discourse analysis for policy analysis: a guideline for policymakers and other professionals. Knowledge Management for Development Journal, 15(1), 99–108.
53.
Ojermark, A. (2007). Presenting Life Histories: A literature review and annotated bibliography (CPRC Working Paper 101). Chronic Poverty Research Centre.
54.
Richardson, M. (2018). Activist to entrepreneur: The role of social enterprise in supporting women’s empowerment in Ghana. British Council.
55.
Fowler, A., & Mati, J. M. (2019) African Gifting: Pluralising the Concept of Philanthropy. Voluntas, 30, 724–737. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-018-00079-z
56.
Aning, P. (2022). Site the Platform for Achieving Excellence in Social Entrepreneurship Development in Ejura-Sekyedumasi Municipality, Ghana. ADRRI Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 19 (2), 13–37.
57.
Afum, E., Issau, K., Agyabeng-Mensah, Y., Baah, C., Dacosta, E., Essandoh, E., et al. (2023). The missing links of sustainable supply chain management and green radical product innovation between sustainable entrepreneurship orientation and sustainability performance. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 21(1), 167–187. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-05-2021-0267
58.
Oteng-Ababio, M., Tanle, A., Amoah, S. T., Kusi, L., Kosoe, E. A., & Bagson, E. (2019). ‘Informal exceptionalism?’ Labour migrants’ creative entrepreneurship for sustainable livelihoods in Accra, Ghana. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 54(1), 88–103. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021909618789965
59.
Jabik, B. B., & Bawakyillenuo, S. (2016). Green entrepreneurship for sustainable development in Ghana: A review. Ghana Social Science Journal, 13(2), 96.
60.
Quartey, E. T., & Miskolci, S. (9–10 March 2017). Prospects of Green entrepreneurship as a driver for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in rural Ghana. The 20th Anniversary of the Conference Enterprise and Competitive Environment, Brno, Czech Republic.
61.
Tandoh-Offin, P. (2009). A review of environmental entrepreneurship as an agenda for rural development: The case for Ghana. SSRN. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1520669
62.
Bawakyillenuo, S., & Agbelie, I. S. K. (2021). Environmental Consciousness of Entrepreneurs in Ghana: How Do Entrepreneur Types, Demographic Characteristics and Product Competitiveness Count? Sustainability, 13(16), 9139. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169139
63.
Amofah, S. (2021). Indigenous Women Social Entrepreneurship: Poverty Alleviation Tool Used by Development NGOs in Ghana. Athens Journal of Social Sciences, 8(2), 151–168. https://doi.org/10.30958/ajss.8-2-4
64.
Adom, K. (2015). Recognizing the contribution of female entrepreneurs in economic development in sub-Saharan Africa: Some evidence from Ghana. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 20(01), 1550003. https://doi.org/10.1142/S108494671550003X
65.
Kuada, J. (2009). Gender, social networks, and entrepreneurship in Ghana. Journal of African Business, 10(1), 85–103. https://doi.org/10.1080/15228910802701445
66.
Dzisi, S. (2023). Female Social Entrepreneurship in Male-Dominated Industries in Ghana and Agenda 2030. In C. Aigbavboa, J. N. Mojekwu, W. D. Thwala, L. Atepor, E. Adinyira, G. Nani, & E. Bamfo-Agyei (Eds.), Sustainable Education and Development—Sustainable Industrialization and Innovation. ARCA 2022 (pp. 1209–1216). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-25998-2_93
67.
Hamilton, E. (2014). Entrepreneurial narrative identity and gender: a double epistemological shift. Journal of Small Business Management, 52(4), 703–712. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12127
68.
Stievenart, E., & Pache, A.-C. (2014). Evaluer l’impact social d’une entreprise sociale: points de repère (in French). Revue internationale de l'économie sociale: Recma, 1, 76–92. https://doi.org/10.7202/1023486ar
69.
Maas, K., & Liket, K. (2011). Social impact measurement: Classification of methods. In R. Burritt, S. Schaltegger, M. Bennett, T. Pohjola, & M. Csutora (Eds.), Environmental management accounting and supply chain management (pp. 171–202). Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-1390-1_8
70.
Alix, N., & Baudet, A. (24–26 October 2013). La mesure de l’impact social: facteur de transformation du secteur social en Europe (in French). The 4th CIRIEC International Research Conference on Social Economy, Antwerp, Belgium.
71.
Fall, A. S., & Guèye, C. (2003). Derem ak Ngerem: Le franc, la grâce et la reconnaissance Les ressorts d’ l’économie sociale et solidaire en Afrique d’ l’Ouest (in French). Revue du MAUSS, 21(1), 97–112. https://doi.org/10.3917/rdm.021.0097
72.
Destremau, B. (2013). Au four, au moulin… et à l’empowerment. La triple captation et l’exploitation du travail des femmes dans le développement (in French). Travail et genre dans le monde. L’état des savoirs, 89–97. https://doi.org/10.3917/dec.marua.2013.01.0089
Metrics
Loading...
Share
Journal Menu
Journal Contact
Highlights of Sustainability Editorial Office
Highlights of Science
Avenida Madrid, 189-195, 3-3
08014 Barcelona, Spain
Email: sustainability@hos.pub
Tel. +34 93 138 23 89
Cathy Wang Managing Editor
Submit Your Article
Highlights Sustain., ISSN 2696-628X. Published quarterly by Highlights of Science.
Subscribe to read the latest articles and newsletters from Highlights of Science.