Factors influencing entrepreneurial intentions of women in the South African digital ecosystem

In line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there have been increasing calls in support of female entrepreneurship in Sub Saharan Africa. The entrepreneurial gender disparity against women in South Africa is a cause for concern considering the important role of female entrepreneurs in the economy. Potential female entrepreneurs face challenges and hostile environments that discourage entrepreneurial spirit. However, with the advent of the digital ecosystem, it is hoped that these institutional barriers would be overcome. Thus, an investigation on the influence of institutional factors and the digital environment on entrepreneurial intentions of women is imperative. Utilising the Theory of Planned Behaviour within an institutional embedded perspective, a model for the digital economy was inferred to analyse factors affecting female entrepreneurial intention in the South African digital ecosystem. This quantitative study utilised cross sectional data collected for a final sample of 302 females across South Africa. Results reflected that entrepreneurial intentions of women are positively influenced by favourable perceptions of the cognitive and normative institutional dimensions. However, the regulatory dimension had a positive but insignificant influence with no evidence that the digital environment interacts with the institutional environment to influence entrepreneurial intentions. Therefore, it is recommended that government and policy makers play a leading role in promoting a culture that values female entrepreneurship. This would assist in creating favourable perceptions of the institutional environment and in turn encourage aspiring female entrepreneurs to start their own business
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in the field of Digital Business to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021
Female entrepreneurship, Digital ecosystem, Entrepreneurial intention