Nuanced Gender Perceptions on the Influences of Formal Education and Business Networks on Tourism-Related Business Operations: Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

  • Nompumelelo Nzama University of Zululand
  • Ikechukwu O. Ezeuduji University of Zululand
Keywords: gender nuances; business operations; business performance; business networks; sub-Saharan Africa


Entrepreneurship contributes significantly to every nation’s socio-economic development. Previous studies reveal that having adequate formal education and belonging to relevant business networks can be indicators of successful business development. However, some of these studies show that female-owned businesses are facing more challenges than their male-owned counterparts. This study explored nuanced gender perceptions on the influences that formal education and business networks can have on tourism-related business operations in Durban Central Business District, KwaZulu-Natal. A questionnaire survey was used to collect data from purposively selected 150 (75 females and 75 males) tourism-related entrepreneurs. We employed descriptive, bivariate and multivariate data analyses in this study. This study did not make a conclusive finding that gender plays a role in differentiating business success or performance, as mostly perceived. However, respondents with tertiary education agree more to being successful than those without tertiary education; male entrepreneurs agree more than female entrepreneurs that level of formal education is key to business performance; and male entrepreneurs tend to be more active members of business networks. This study recommends that entrepreneurship training and mentorship programmes should emphasise that formal education (not gender) supports business success, and encourage women entrepreneurs to be active members of relevant business networks.


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