On Thursday, Dr. Seun Kolade from the Department of Strategic Management and Marketing at De Montford University in the United Kingdom presented his work entitled “Guts, Grit and God? Spiritual Capital and Entrepreneurial Resilience in a Turbulent Environment” at the Global Resilience Institute. In attendance were representatives of the Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas – a 3,000-member congregation with a focus on community development and social justice.
The presentation focused on Dr. Kolade’s theoretical framework that explores how spiritual capital interacts with environmental turbulence, explains entrepreneurial resilience, and affects firm-level survival and performance. Dr. Kolade argues that spiritual capital – the set of personal, intangible and transcendent resources that emanate from an individual’s spiritual or religious beliefs and experiences and may be used in economic activity – can increase an individual’s self-awareness and motivation, which in turn increases their entrepreneurial resilience and ability to survive, and even thrive in turbulent environments.
Dr. Kolade and his collaborators tested their model in an empirical study of 600 randomly selected small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest economies and an archetypal context for addressing key questions of resilience and environmental turbulence.
They found that spiritual capital does indeed have a significant positive impact on entrepreneurial resilience and that it complements and even mediates the impact of other resources like social capital on resilience. They also concluded that while institutional weakness exacerbates environmental turbulence, it provides an auspicious opportunity for entrepreneurs to use spiritual capital and other resources to transform weak institutions or create new ones.
Following the presentation, there was discussion focused on how the lessons learned from Dr. Kolade’s research can be applied to communities in the United States, and how religious institutions can play a key role in mobilizing people and resources to create change.