Title: Returning to drive small business exports: diaspora entrepreneurs in Ghana's fruit processing clusters

Authors: Anthony Ayakwah; Leandro Sepulveda; Fergus Lyon

Addresses: Liberal Studies Department, Faculty of Business and Management Studies, Koforidua Technical University, Eastern Region, Ghana ' CEEDR, Business School, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT, UK ' CEEDR, Business School, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT, UK

Abstract: Returnee entrepreneur (RE) businesses have extensively contributed to economies around the world. However, REs ability to galvanise and coordinate local business networks and permeate the international markets within countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have mostly been overlooked, particularly in the context of exporting activities in Africa. This paper posits that diaspora 'returnee entrepreneurs' can become potent channels for the promotion and facilitation of the internationalisation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing economies. An original piece of empirical research on two exporting food processing clusters in Ghana shows that REs can introduce external technology, develop and sustain international customer networks and are able to meet international standards, thus becoming carriers for internationalisation from the onset. African returnees are able to build trust-based relationships within home country formal business structures and establish strong ties with international customers that accommodate operational and institutional bottlenecks.

Keywords: returnee entrepreneurs; networks; external knowledge; international market; internationalisation; skill transfer; diaspora entrepreneurs; small and medium enterprises; SMEs; Ghana; Asia; Africa.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMED.2020.10030594

International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, 2020 Vol.19 No.3, pp.273 - 291

Received: 04 Dec 2019
Accepted: 19 Jan 2020

Published online: 28 Jul 2020 *

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