Creating an entrepreneurial culture in support of SMEs
on entrepreneurs and their immediate 'support' agencies unless equal consideration is given to investing in the development of an 'enterprise culture' in the broader SME stakeholder environment. It is this
environment that shapes the 'level (or skewed) playing field' for small enterprise development. In recognition of the fact that the words 'entrepreneurship' and 'enterprise culture' are frequently confused
in the rhetoric that surrounds development, they are first defined. The enterprise culture derives from the 'life world' of the entrepreneur. Sensitivity to this world and its underpinning values lies at
the root of creating conditions for 'effective'(as opposed to socially deviant) entrepreneurial behaviour. Entrepreneurial values and beliefs contrast sharply with those of government and corporate bureaucracy.
Therein lies the root of the problem. Key SME stakeholders, and in particular donors, are likely to embrace bureaucratic cultures. Yet they are dominant 'supply side' customers for local development agencies,
and as such they are capable of exercising a pervasive bureaucratic influence on the behaviours and values of such agencies, threatening their culture and more important their potential for long-term sustainability.
The threat to the enterprise culture may paradoxically come from those who seek to support it. There is therefore an imperative to develop strategies for creating an enterprise culture among key stakeholders.
This can only be achieved by a process of strategic partnership learning. How this might be achieved is discussed.