Original Research

The relevance of human capital to firm performance: A focus on the retail industry in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Boris Urban, Michael Kongo
Acta Commercii | Vol 15, No 1 | a261 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v15i1.261 | © 2015 Boris Urban, Michael Kongo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 March 2014 | Published: 20 March 2015

About the author(s)

Boris Urban, Wits Business School, Witwatersrand
Michael Kongo, Wits Business School, Witwatersrand, South Africa


Purpose and problem: Human capital represents an investment in education and skills. However, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the ability of small-scale retailers to grow and increase firm performance is restricted by the scarcity of education and prior work experience.

Methodology: Survey data were collected from 126 owner-managers in the retail industry in Kinshasa, DRC, in order to investigate the proposed relationship between the human capital components of education, work experience and venture performance.

Findings: Several variables pertaining to education and prior work experience were related to different aspects of venture performance, allowing for support of the hypotheses. Nonetheless, when clustering was conducted some surprising results were observed in that owner-managers tended to have little work experience even where their venture was performing well.

Implications: Research into human capital and links to performance in Africa and emerging markets is valuable as recent research has found that the matching of entrepreneurial human capital with opportunities for growth is the essence of economic development.


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1. Evidence-Based Practices of Promoting Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education Institutions in Africa
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doi: 10.22610/jebs.v8i5(J).1432