Victoire, Leah, Barbra, and Nicholas – Team Rwenzori
Last but certainly not least – Team Rwenzori for the win; named after West Uganda’s highest peak since we strive to be always on top! Formed with Leah and Victoire from CBS and Barbra and Nicholas in the MUBS side, we can’t believe our research project is already almost coming to an end.
Passionate about refugee entrepreneurship, we chose to focus on Congolese refugees since they form the largest population groups before Somalis, Rwandans and South Sudanese and they are known to be economically active working as tailors, selling bitenges – African fabric – or jewellrys. After some intense discussion brainstorming on our research, we finally came up with our one million research questions: How does social capital influence Congolese refugees’ entrepreneurs running their business? Our aim was to find out how these Refugees could mobilize different level of social networks from their close relatives up to the governments and NGOs working with refugees in an entrepreneurial context.
As team resources, we were able to count on Victoire and Leah to speak French with the Congolese and an MUBS knowledge of the city to figure out the best spots to go scouting. We set up Cooper Complex in the city center as our area of play since most Congolese entrepreneurs operates in this busy area. We spent a week and half scouting and interviewing ‘in the field’ – which we should may rename ‘in the jungle’. Imagine bodas everywhere and a multitude stalls selling spices, beauty products, food and drinks or African fabric. Unlike some of the other teams who were sitting comfortably in big corporations’ offices or startup hubs, our interviews consisted mostly of us trying to scribble on our notebooks while avoiding at the same to get knocked by vendors carrying large bags in the narrow alleys – but how fun! We absolutely loved the kindness of all of the interviewees – the plus being to become friends with tailors who were able to make us clothes out of African fabric.
Now’s last day of preparation for the presentation – we hope to impress with our new dresses and – possibly – our findings.
As said by Barbra, “My two muzungus are Kampala girls now” – well the girls would love to be in Kampala forever!