Feb. 15, 2022Print | PDF
Oliver Masakure is an associate professor and program director of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Business Technology Management program. He is also the associate director of Laurier’s Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa. Masakure’s research covers a broad range of topics in development economics, health economics and labour economics, and his latest research efforts are focused on telling the stories of young Black entrepreneurs.
Tell us about your research project “Paths Less Traveled: Experiences of Young Black Entrepreneurs.”
"We want to document the lived experiences of Black entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 in Ontario in order to understand how their education, skills and aspirations led them toward entrepreneurship. We also want to compare the lived experiences of women and men, and their views on, and approach to, postsecondary education and self-employment. This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and co-led by my Laurier colleagues Stacey Wilson-Forsberg and Ardavan Eizadirad."
Why have you chosen to study young Black entrepreneurs?
"We are interested in the education and labour market experiences of Black youth in Canada. Our previous research found that some Black youth were able to smoothly transition from school to the labour market, but some confronted many challenges. Their path was non-linear. We also found that some started their own ventures – both for-profit and social – in part to manage the many challenges they were facing in the labour market. This motivated us to dig deeper into their journeys. There is little research on Black entrepreneurs in Canada, and what exists does not focus on youth and conflates the experiences of women and men."
What impact do you hope to have through your research?
"We hope to shed light on what Black youth can and are doing. It is not easy being an entrepreneur – it is very stressful and risky – and we want to document what makes these young women and men tick. We hope that documenting their motivations, and what drives them every day to wake up and run their ventures, will inspire other youth to be less fearful about trying their hand at entrepreneurship and seeing how it goes."
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