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International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship

International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Elgar original reference

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson

The comprehensive and thoroughly accessible International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship aims to develop a multidisciplinary theory explaining entrepreneurship as a function of cultural perceptions of opportunity. The Handbook presents a multitude of fascinating, superbly illustrated studies on the facets of entrepreneurship amongst indigenous peoples.

Chapter 8: The Maasai: Entrepreneurship and Change

Bitange Ndemo

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics


Bitange Ndemo Traditionally recognized by their distinctive appearance (see Figure 8.1), the Maasai are among the indigenous tribes of Kenya. They reside in traditional homes and follow an age-old lifestyle. Attempts to ‘develop’ their pastoral production systems using Western concepts and models1 have typically failed (Desta and Coppock, 2003). However, they now find themselves faced with change because of the inexorable demands of modern life, with ever-decreasing land resources effectively threatening their culture and forcing them to seek other alternatives such as agriculture (Ndagala, 1992) and to some extent petty trade (Holland, 1996). This chapter investigates the impact of entrepreneurship in the Maasai community in Kenya. It briefly analyses the Maasai culture in relation to their participation in the market economy. The literature review leads to the statement of the problem and two hypotheses: first, because of decreasing land resources, the Maasai would seek to develop enterprises as a source of income if capital were available; and second, education for the Maasai would facilitate change and diversification of income-generating Figure 8.1 Traditional Maasai (photo by Léo-Paul Dana © 2005) 84 The Maasai: entrepreneurship and change 85 Figure 8.2 Zebra grazing (photo by Léo-Paul Dana © 2005) activities. The study is important considering that traditional grazing land is diminishing (see Figure 8.2). The data for the study were collected through a cross-sectional survey of 113 Maasai micro-enterprises carried out in four districts (Kajiado, Laikipia, Narok and Transmara) in late 2004. A multiple regression analysis model was developed using...

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