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Cultural and Socio Economic Experiences of Female Entrepreneurs in Brazil and the United States: An Exploratorial and Empirical Analysis

Neila Holland
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Neila Holland: Business and Entrepreneurship Professor, Stratford University, Baltimore Campus,United States of America

Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education, 2014, issue 1-2, 3-37

Abstract: Over the last twenty years female entrepreneurs have been increasing in numbers in economies of developing and developed nations across the world. But although female entrepreneurship participation rates have increased worldwide, it appears that economic and socio cultural patterns still prescribe whether a female can become or want to become an entrepreneur in her society. This qualitative exploratory study investigates the phenomenon of female entrepreneurship comparing female entrepreneurship in two contexts: Brazil and the United States. The economic differences on a macro level between these two countries have been well documented and national socio cultural differences have been discussed. But very little has been focused at the individual level of the female entrepreneur per se, that is, how they perceive and experience the economic and the social cultural macro environment with their businesses. This research attempts to fill this gap and this was done by reviewing the literature and by analyzing the responses from interviews with 60 female entrepreneurs in Brazil and in the United States. The findings indicated that the female entrepreneurs from both countries share similarities in motivation for starting the business in terms of pull factors, such as search for financial independence, want to be one’s own boss, need for autonomy, and self actualization. The women from both groups also identified customer satisfaction and recognition from society as key elements for success. The perception of gender barriers was shared by both groups but other factors such as religion were emphasized only by the Americans. Networking was perceived as important, but different patterns of networking emerged among the Brazilians and the Americans. Definitions of success also differ among the women independent from their nationality. This research contributed to an increased understanding of the process of female entrepreneurship as it related to how economic and socio cultural forces influence these processes. The findings indicated that the female entrepreneurship process becomes a combination of two processes: a person driven process and a response to environment process.

Keywords: Female entrepreneurship; informal business; cultural practices; social practices; opportunity entrepreneurship; necessity entrepreneurship (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B54 L26 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education is currently edited by Mirjana Radovic Markovic

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Handle: RePEc:ibg:jwejou:y:2014:i:1-2:p:3-37