University of Oulu

Arslan, A., Buchanan, B.G., Kamara, S. and Al Nabulsi, N. (2021), "Fintech, base of the pyramid entrepreneurs and social value creation", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Fintech, base of the pyramid entrepreneurs and social value creation

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Author: Arslan, Ahmad1; Buchanan, Bonnie G.2; Kamara, Samppa3;
Organizations: 1Department of Marketing, Management and IB, Oulun Yliopisto, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Finance and Accounting, Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
3Department of International Business and Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Hanken School of Economics–Vaasa Campus, Vaasa, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-20


Purpose: Fintech is having a profound impact in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) because it offers more financial inclusion. In this paper, the authors examine the interrelationship of Fintech, base of the pyramid (BOP) entrepreneurs and social value creation, particularly in the SSA context.

Design/methodology/approach: The current paper uses a qualitative research design with open-ended, in-depth interviews as the main data sources. The authors interviewed respondents from the Sierra Leone Fintech Association and four BOP entrepreneurs operating in different sectors.

Findings: The authors find that Fintech services, specifically mobile money, play a significant role in reducing uncertainty surrounding business operations. FinTech also offers growth possibilities for BOP entrepreneurs and creates social value by providing transactional security, convenience and reducing physical cash robberies. At the same time, Fintech contributes to social value by enhancing BOP entrepreneurs as well as consumers’ skills development.

Research limitations/implications: This study highlights the importance of context-specific theorization when analyzing the interlinkage between BOP entrepreneurship, social value creation and Fintech. For example, the possibility of safety from a street robbery may not appear to be part of social value creation by a technological development like Fintech. However, in a country like Sierra Leone, which has experienced both a civil war and Ebola outbreak, insecurity has been one of the biggest concerns expressed by BOP inhabitants. Hence, scholars need to incorporate contextual elements of risk, uncertainty and volatility while theorizing on Fintech’s application in BOP contexts.

Practical implications: A key managerial implication relates to micro-firm entrepreneurs and information specific benefits. Fintech offers entrepreneurs the possibility to be in regular contact with customers and evaluate their purchasing patterns as well as emergent needs. Fintech offers BOP entrepreneurs a possibility to further develop their technological skills as learning to use such apps can be used as a basis for further skills development. From a policy perspective, our study highlights the importance of regulating Fintech charges so that the affordability is increased, which is expected to result in significantly more BOP entrepreneurs using these services.

Social implications: The authors find that at the same time, Fintech contributes to social value by enhancing skills development of BOP consumers who interact with case firms.

Originality/value: This paper is one of the first studies that specifically focuses on BOP entrepreneurship and social value creation by Fintech services in an SSA context. It is also one of the few studies that incorporates views from both entrepreneurs and the country’s Fintech association, rather than focusing solely on either entrepreneurs or Fintech firms. Finally, there is a specific focus on BOP entrepreneurs engaging in micro-entrepreneurship.

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Series: Journal of small business and enterprise development
ISSN: 1462-6004
ISSN-E: 1758-7840
ISSN-L: 1462-6004
Volume: In press
DOI: 10.1108/JSBED-10-2020-0370
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited. The final authenticated version is available online at