As you may know, I am a PhD candidate in African American Studies with a specialization in Entrepreneurship at the Eli Broad School of Business at Michigan State University.

Through the Eli Broad School of Business Research Program, while preparing for my dissertation research, I will have the exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a unique international service learning and research-intensive course in South Africa May 9-28th, 2013. I am aiming to conduct original research in Africa that will significantly contribute to the field of entrepreneurship.  I will visit Johannesburg, Pilanesberg, Port Elizabeth, Tsitsikamma, Oudtshoorn, and Cape Town, South Africa. While interning, I will have the opportunity to conduct advanced field research in Pretoria, Cape Town, and Soweto, while I simultaneously work with other South African communities and institutions which primarily focus on contributing to important cultural and economic development and policy. This is a unique opportunity to explore how innovation-driven entrepreneurship impacts global economies in Africa, as well as how economic agencies influence, foster, and cultivate such innovation.

At the University of South Africa in Pretoria, the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, and the University of Johannesburg in Soweto, my primary goal in the study of Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship in South Africa is to conduct high-quality research that identifies and analyzes South African economic development successes in order to ultimately prepare contextual views of entrepreneurship in the urban marketplace. Of particular interest are the positive economic developments that have taken place in South Africa over the last decade. What are the roots of these developments? To what extent are they sustainable and transferable to other African countries, in addition to Black-owned businesses in the United States?

I want to learn as much as I can about the South African entrepreneurial mindset, culture, and environment in the hope of making the study of South Africa a more mainstream endeavor for applied economics and entrepreneurial development. Lastly, I plan to systematize the available data on South Africa. To do this, I plan to establish a website that will act as an inventory and clearinghouse of economic data on South African cities and townships visited during the course of this project. The website will host datasets in cases where existing public data is not otherwise available online. It will serve as a space to house the information collected, observed, and researched as a means to accelerate the dissertation process.

What is closest to my heart in this endeavor is the opportunity to define what constructs successful Black businesses throughout Africa and the Pan-African Diaspora. My research will be able to be used to systematically link global economies with the intent to connect industries and sectors both domestic and abroad.

As I embark on this incredible journey, it is with honor and glory that I will research entrepreneurship and its innovations back in the motherland, while visiting my roots in the southern part of Africa. Home could never have been closer than the opportunity to link two nations as a scholar activist, and for that I am grateful.

Keep economic hope alive. Until my return on June 3, 2013. 

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