Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Howard Schechter

Abstract

Prior studies have revealed that recent Asian and Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to social change in the United States. Although African immigrant entrepreneurs have made such contributions, few studies exist about them, and there is limited knowledge about this business community. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify the barriers of growth in Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrant-owned firms in the Washington, DC area who were in business for a minimum of 3 years and represented various trade lines and geographical locations. The enhanced integrated model of ethnic business development, which proposes growth strategies by analyzing the interaction of opportunity structures, ethnic resources, and entrepreneurial and management skills, was used as the conceptual framework to guide this study. Semistructured interview data were gathered from the business owners and then analyzed by employing a pattern matching technique. The data analysis revealed the themes of management deficiencies and the lack of organizational support system as the main growth barriers of the firms studied. These findings suggested the improvement of management skills and the creation of an organizational support system. This effort demands a collaboration of public, private, and community organizations. The results of this study may have positive social change implications to local economies by facilitating the growth of immigrant-owned businesses and enhancing their job and income-creating potential.