A conceptual model of entrepreneurial competencies needed to utilise technologies of Industry 4.0

04 Nov 2021

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0 (I4), has provided an unprecedented platform for innovation in various spheres. For entrepreneurs then, who are known to drive innovation and progress in various fields, I4 offers a wide scope of opportunities. The purpose of this article is to provide a conceptual model of needed entrepreneurial competencies to effectively utilise novel technologies I4 has to offer. To develop the model, this exploratory study adopts an action research approach. Using predefined questions developed from previous literature, a representative sample was obtained from 17 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs. From the data analyses, where machine learning technologies were used, it was found that to respond and navigate the layers of I4 technologies and enable new possibilities, entrepreneurs require certain competencies in this globally connected and technology-fuelled world. This article advances entrepreneurial research as it provides a platform to guide and support their development, which has been a key focus area both internationally and in South Africa, to address one of the key sustainable development goals, economic growth. Despite this contribution, further investigation is required on how to develop these competencies through supportive mechanisms and corresponding education relating to I4.