The Student Entrepreneurial Journey

Motivations, Entrepreneurial Engagements, and Challenges among Recent Graduates of Visual Arts Academic Programs in Ghana

  • Keren Naa Abeka Arthur University of Cape Coast
  • Albert Kwame Arthur University of Education, Winneba
Keywords: Entrepreneurial journey, tertiary education, university graduates, Visual arts

Abstract

This paper explores the stories of student entrepreneurs in order to understand 1) their motivation for pursuing student entrepreneurship, 2) their entrepreneurial engagements, and 3) their entrepreneurial challenges including how they balance entrepreneurship and academic work. The study uses a qualitative research design involving a total of twenty graduates of visual arts academic programs in Ghana; respondents were sampled using a purposive and snowball approach. Data collection was carried out with the help of a semi-structured interview guide and data analysis was conducted using a thematic analysis approach. Findings show that most respondents chose to pursue entrepreneurship while studying as early as senior high school level as an avenue for addressing personal financial constraints. Results indicated a preference for entrepreneurial activities in multiple art related industries for most respondents with sectors such as graphic communication design and t-shirt printing dominating. Further, responses show that respondents faced financial, operational, marketing, and managerial challenges in their entrepreneurial pursuits. It is concluded that students in our sample capitalize on the skills they acquire as part of their education to pursue predominantly craft entrepreneurship as a survival strategy. Their entrepreneurial engagements mostly focus on opportunities in their field of specialization with general and context specific challenges confronting them. It is recommended that policy makers in academia, industry, and government work together towards positioning student entrepreneurs to be growth oriented even when choosing the craft route to entrepreneurship.

Author Biographies

Keren Naa Abeka Arthur, University of Cape Coast

Keren Naa Abeka Arthur is a lecturer with the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprise Development at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Her research interests are in entrepreneurship, small enterprise development and innovation management. Her research is multidisciplinary and covers topics in the areas of financial innovation, entrepreneurship activities in christian denominations, plastic waste management, entrepreneurship education and training and entrepreneurship and arts among others.

Albert Kwame Arthur, University of Education, Winneba

Albert Kwame Arthur is a doctoral student at the School of Creative Arts, University of Education, Winneba. He specializes in leatherwork with past and current research work focused on arts and chieftaincy, management of solid leather waste and interactions between entrepreneurship and art in industry and in education.

Sample graphic design works by student entrepreneur in Ghana. Photo Credit: Melchizedec Yankey
Published
2020-05-22
Section
Articles