Undoing the Myth of Entrepreneurship as a Development Apparatus

  • Maria Smit University of Pretoria
  • Marius Pretorius University of Pretoria


The current theoretical framing of entrepreneurship includes a number of diverse phenomena under the same conceptual umbrella, yet the terms are often conflated and used interchangeably. Based on the assumption that anything included under this conceptual umbrella contributes to economic development and job creation, entrepreneurship has become appropriated as a development tool in the Global South where poverty and unemployment are rife. This study introduces the term entrepreneurship as a development apparatus (EDA) and defines it as the implementation of entrepreneurship support interventions (such as training, incubation and funding) in economically marginalised communities, based on the assumption that these interventions lead to economic development and job creation. EDA is then taken out from under the conceptual entrepreneurship umbrella, and placed in a post-development theory context, showing that insight can be gained when the critical debate on entrepreneurship is moved beyond the constraints of the mainstream entrepreneurship paradigm. Drawing from the development debate, this paper argues that the current theoretical entrepreneurship paradigm has proven unable to provide answers to the failure of EDA, and thus calls for the rejection of the entire notion of EDA as a form of entrepreneurship.

Author Biographies

Maria Smit, University of Pretoria
Department of Business Management
Marius Pretorius, University of Pretoria
Department of Business Management