The role of the entrepreneurial leader: a study of Nigerian SMEs

Ibiyemi Omeihe, Christian Harrison*, Amon Simba, King Omeihe

*Corresponding author for this work

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Growing evidence points to the role of entrepreneurial leadership in enhancing positive business outcomes. Yet little is known about the entrepreneurial leadership attributes and skills exploited by entrepreneurial leaders within a developing economy context. This study examines the role of entrepreneurial leadership within fashion SMEs. It exemplifies the entrepreneurial leadership attributes and skills employed by entrepreneurial leaders within Nigerian fashion SMEs. Based on 14 semi- structured interviews of entrepreneurial leaders, we found out that: (1) five broad skills namely; technical, conceptual, interpersonal, entrepreneurial and expectation management skills are employed by entrepreneurial leaders ; (2) entrepreneurial leaders rely on 7 attributes namely; hard work, long term view, passion, length of service, creativity, innovation and vision in the pursuit of their business ventures; (3) creativity and innovation are key attributes within the fashion sector ; (4) vision is described as the most important attribute an entrepreneurial leader should possess. Finally, this study recognises the interaction between attributes and skills, which serves as a foundation for understanding the transition process of entrepreneurial leadership attributes to skills. In addition, it provides new insights on the classification of competencies and it presents an instructive entrepreneurial leadership model for guiding such a categorisation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2020


  • entrepreneurial leadership
  • developing economy
  • entrepreneurial leader
  • attributes
  • skills
  • small and medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • entrepreneurshio
  • leadership


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