Transition Experiences from Student to Business Owner: A Narrative Analysis among Nascent Entrepreneurs




Nascent entrepreneurship, qualitative research approach, narrative inquiry


Purpose: Given the high unemployment rate in countries like South Africa, a need exists to understand the experiences gained during the transition from student to business owner. Such an inquiry aids the further development of a new generation of entrepreneurs. The study’s objective was to explore the factors and challenges of transition by nascent entrepreneurs using individuals who had been students as a sample in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach: Data was collected through interviews with 22 participants who had made the journey from students to first-time business owners, utilising narrative analysis. The three levels of meaning-making were used to analyse the data.

Findings: The findings of this study position three salient narratives. First, the motivation to become an entrepreneur is largely influenced by the experience of coming from a context of hardship. Second, the challenge of transitioning from student to entrepreneur is influenced by resourcing and capability challenges. Third, in experiencing the motivator and ensuing challenges, the nascent entrepreneurs relied on more informal networks of support than formal channels.

Practical implications – Based on the research findings, the researchers have recommendations that can assist universities and students, those who are already in the entrepreneurial space, and the government.

Originality/value – This study is a pioneer in exploring the transition experiences from student to nascent entrepreneurship within the South African context, illustrating this through narrative analysis.


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Author Biography

Ruth Soda, University of Fort Hare

Ruth is currently a PhD candidate.


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How to Cite

Soda, Ruth, and Willie Tafadzwa Chinyamurindi. “Transition Experiences from Student to Business Owner: A Narrative Analysis Among Nascent Entrepreneurs”. Southern African Business Review, 25 pages.



Received 2023-12-06
Accepted 2024-05-03
Published 2024-05-31