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Developing entrepreneurial self-efficacy : a transformative learning theory approach.

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The key challenges facing South Africa are unemployment and the high level of crime, especially violent crime. With an expanded unemployment rate of 36.8% and an even higher youth unemployment rate of 52.2%, it is no wonder that the level of crime is high. There is a direct link between a culture of lawlessness, unemployment and education derailment fuelling the poverty trap in SA. Successful entrepreneurship on the other hand affords an opportunity to end generational poverty. This study proposed using a transformative learning theory approach to entrepreneurship education. Specifically, it aimed to investigate the use of Transformative Learning to develop Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) in the youth. This was achieved by conducting a longitudinal study of the Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship (SHAPE) training programme. From an analysis of the data, the study found the following: 1. ESE for participants in the SHAPE programme increased. At the end of the SHAPE programme participants tended to respond more positively to various aspects of ESE; 2. The differences in ESE between males and females were eliminated by the SHAPE programme. By session 7 there was no statistically significant difference between the ESE for males and females and 3. The SHAPE programme led to an increase in ESE in the context of Disorienting Dilemma, Critical Reflection, Reflective Discourse and Action. From the longitudinal study of the SHAPE programme and a review of entrepreneurship education literature, the study argues that it is difficult to determine student transformation in the sense of changing underlying beliefs about, and approach to, entrepreneurship. To achieve and evaluate real transformation, this research proposed the Transformative Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy (TESE) model. Based on the findings above, the study made the following key recommendations. 1. If transformation in education is required, there is a need to increase experiential learning in entrepreneurship education. 2. Learning institutions that run entrepreneurship courses should establish relationships with successful entrepreneurs in their environment. They could then leverage that relationship by inviting those entrepreneurs to share their experiences. Learning institution should select entrepreneurs with demographics that are similar to the students. 3. Entrepreneurship programmes should be evaluated on their ability to bring about measurable changes in students.


Doctoral Degree, University of KwaZulu-Natal.