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Business, Technology and Innovation Research

Economic and Community Development Research Part 1

Using an Effectuation Framework to Evaluate an Entrepreneurship Training Program for Disadvantaged Youth in Kampala, Uganda

The Youth Livelihood Empowerment Program, Uganda


Uganda remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with one in five citizens living in abject poverty, and more than a third earning less than $1.90 a day. Eighty percent of the country’s population is under 30, with most youth unemployed or struggling to get by with odd jobs. According to the World Bank, this situation is only intensifying, as over 700,000 young people reach working age every year, but only about 75,000 jobs are created. Research evidence suggests that entrepreneurship can play a significant role in helping to alleviate this problem (Shepherd, Parida & Wincent, 2020). In addition to yielding widespread economic benefits, entrepreneurship also gives agency back to youth themselves, as opposed to leaving them dependent on charity (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014).

Since 2017, Caring Hands Uganda (CHU) has been engaged in using entrepreneurship education to empower disadvantaged youth in Kampala. The Youth Livelihood Empowerment Program (YLEP) was developed to teach basic entrepreneurship skills, along with ways to access credit sources and global markets. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of YLEP’s 302 graduates to-date have started new ventures and generated positive effects in their communities. Prior to scaling this program, CHU has requested a program evaluation to better understand where YLEP can be improved. Using an effectuation framework, which focuses primarily on opportunity identification and new venture creation under conditions of uncertainty (Sarasvathy, 2001). Our research to this end has 3 main objectives:

  1. To survey and document the experiences of graduates of YLEP, successes as well as challenges, as they struggle to establish new start-up ventures.
  2. To identify ways to enhance the effectiveness of the training provided in YLEP, using an effectuation framework.
  3. To determine what additional supports are needed by YLEP graduates in the field to help them achieve greater success.

Funding Source: SSHRC Partnership Engage 2021-2022

Research Lead: Dr. Akbar Saeed, Wilfrid Laurier University

Community Partner: Caring Hands Uganda

Economic and Community Development Research Part 2

Assessment of host-country perspectives on key impacts of reciprocal bidirectional North-South student mobility arrangements (Canada-Ghana)

Canadian and Ghanaian students sharing Banku, Photo Credit: Cassandra Voets


The project offers a case study of Wilfrid Laurier University’s multiyear AUCC/AU-funded bidirectional student mobility program with universities and organizations in Ghana, West Africa. It focuses on host community perspectives on key aspects of the reciprocal program that occur in the host country. Its main aim is to identify if significant differences can be identified between the views of partners in this reciprocal, bidirectional relationship when compared to existing findings of host community perspectives within unidirectional relationships. Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews with key informants, the project’s objectives are to:

  1. Identify the impacts of South-North student mobility programs on students, their colleagues, and academic departments in the Global South;
  2. Determine if bidirectional North-South student mobility programs create more balanced, less colonial relationships with host community organizations;
  3. Describe how bidirectional North-South student mobility programs affect university-to-university relations;
  4. Share the results of the research with practitioners, policymakers, and scholars working within the International Service Learning sector.

Funding Source: SSHRC Insight development 2020-2023

Research Lead: Dr. Robert Ame, Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. Andrew Robinson, Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. James Sefe Dzisah, University of the Cape Coast, Ghana

Dr. Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, Wilfrid Laurier University

From Vulnerability to Resilience: Highly Skilled African Immigrants' Experiences in the Quebec Labour Market (2021)

Research Lead: Charles Gyan

Collaborators: Oliver Masakure, Funke Oba, Stacey Wilson-Forsberg

Using an Effectuation Framework to Evaluate an Entrepreneurship Training Program for Disadvantaged Youth in Kampala, Uganda (2021)

Research Lead: Akbar Saeed 

Paths Less Traveled: Experiences of Young African Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Southern Ontario (2021-2023)

Research Lead: Oliver Masakure (PI), Stacey Wilson-Forsberg (CI), Ardavan Eizadirad (CI)

Collaborators: Edward Shizha (Col)

Rethinking Resilience: The experience of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in Montreal (2021-2022)

Research Lead: C. Gyan (PI)

Energy Security in Africa: Fostering the formation of small-scale solar energy enterprises by young Ghanaian electrical contractors (2022)

Research Lead: Akbar Saeed

Contact Us:

Karen Cyrus, Director


Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, Associate Director