Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Dr. Patricia Fusch


According to the Cameroon Ministry of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ over 70% of the active population and contribute significantly to economic growth and development, yet the failure rate of SMEs in the region within the first 5 years remains at 72%. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies that SME owners used to sustain their businesses for longer than the first 5 years. With the resource-based view as the conceptual framework, purposive sampling was used to select 5 owners of small food-processing enterprises in Cameroon who demonstrated successful sustainability strategies. Data were collected using semistructured, open-ended interviews and review of business documents. Data were analyzed using member checking and methodological triangulation. Yin's 5- step process for data analysis revealed 9 themes including education, technical experience, and skills; entrepreneurial and business management skills; access to external support; bookkeeping and working capital management; human resource management; owners' dedication and commitment; research and development and marketing strategies; resource-based strategic planning; and owners' understanding of the business ecosystem, regulations, and taxation. The results may contribute to positive social change by increasing the survival rate for SMEs leading to job creation and improvement of the living standards in local communities.