Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Capital Development


Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Chair

Chad R. Miller

Committee Chair Department

Economic Development, Tourism, and Sports Management

Committee Member 2

Quincy Brown

Committee Member 2 Department

Human Capital Development

Committee Member 3

Cyndi H. Gaudet

Committee Member 3 Department

Human Capital Development

Committee Member 4

Dale L. Lunsford

Committee Member 4 Department

Human Capital Development


This studyexplored questions regarding the perceived influences (agency and structural) to successful Black entrepreneurship according to Black entrepreneurs living in the counties in the Mississippi Delta where Black people are the majority of the population. The examination questioned Black entrepreneurs in 13 counties in the Mississippi Delta on the perceived impact of agency and structural factors (i.e., human capital, social capital, industry type, financial capital, intergenerational link, discrimination, state government, Black elected officials, access to resources, opportunity, location) in relation to their success. One finding was that agency factors are the leading perceived influence on the success of Black entrepreneurs in their entrepreneurial pursuits. The other finding was that structural factors are also perceived to influence Black people’s entrepreneurial efforts in the region through the lack of access to opportunity and resources afforded in the region, viewed as a practice of state government and elected officials, and carried out in acts of discrimination towards Black people according to the personal experiences and perceptions of study participants. The overall conclusion was that being a Black majority does not automatically generate a perceived positive influence on Black business success unless Black people invest in their agency factors. Further research is recommended to increase knowledge of Black entrepreneurship and contribute to the body of literature. Additional, research is recommended to be location based, designed as mixed methods, comparative longitudinal, or a replication of this study in a different but rural setting.