Title

Experiences of Women Entrepreneurs: An Interpretive Study

Date of Degree

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Absael Antelo

Advisor

Jessica Kimmel

Advisor

Osman Ozturgut

Abstract

The topic of women entrepreneurs has been largely neglected in society. Women are struggling with work-life balance issues and corporate America is not meeting their needs. This study was based on the premise that women entrepreneurship was considered important for the stability and growth of the economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012) forecasted that women would create more than half of the 9.72 million new small-business jobs by 2018. In spite of this paradigm shift, there was still a shortage of available research data that explored their experiences. The majority of studies on entrepreneurship reflected a male’s perspective. This basic interpretive study explored the lived experiences and perceptions of eight women entrepreneurs in South Texas. In-depth, semi-structured interviews provided rich, thick descriptions, feelings, and an interpretive perspective of this purposive sampling. The method of triangulation improved the quality of the data and ensured trustworthiness and credibility. The goal was to gain a better understanding of how they met their needs through entrepreneurship. This study contributed new knowledge from a women’s perspective. The theoretical framework was grounded in Bandura (1986), Bussey and Bandura (1999), and Sen (2000). The findings revealed six final emergent themes: scheduling flexibility, non-formal education, nondiscrimination, start-up funds, motivation, and perseverance. Recommendations are made for additional research studies in other geographic locations and quantitative research studies to further explore the link between women entrepreneurship and economic development.

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