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Higher education and entrepreneurship: a comparison of basic and tertiary educated entrepreneurs in the eThekwini Municipality of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Seven of the top 10 Billionaire entrepreneurs in South Africa all have something in common. They have dropped out of school, not attend college, or dropped out of college. This raises the question of next generation of entrepreneurs’. Is formal education necessary for entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurship plays a vital role of a countries economy and is a direct contributor to the standard of living in that country. The objective of this study was to find the success factors of entrepreneurs and make comparisons of entrepreneurs with a basic education and a tertiary education. The business success factors were their management skills, leadership characteristics, risk propensity, macro-environmental challenges, and their business culture. The number of entrepreneurs in the eThekwini Municipality is said to be in the hundred thousand, it is impossible to know the exact population. Therefore, a non-probability sampling approach was adopted. A quantitative cross-sectional survey was sent to 160 entrepreneurs in the eThekwini Municipality. The entrepreneurs were profiled to ensure a 50-50 split between basic and tertiary educated entrepreneurs. An online questionnaire made up primarily of a 10-point numerical scale type questions was used to obtain responses from the sample which received a response rate of 89.55%. The results indicated that tertiary educated entrepreneurs have better financial management skills than BE entrepreneurs. Basic educated entrepreneurs were more vulnerable to the external macro-environment than TE entrepreneurs. BE display leadership traits of a servant leader while TE display leadership trait that are more autocratic. BE entrepreneurs preferred working in a creative business culture while TE prefer working in a result driven goal orientated culture. TE entrepreneurs are willing to risk paying bribes for business while BE are willing to risk their products and services, and their personal assets to gain finance. It is recommended that BE need training in financial management. TE entrepreneurs need training in people management and ethics.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.