Title: Network collaboration for local and regional development - the case of Swedish women entrepreneurs

Authors: Iréne Bernhard; Anna Karin Olsson

Addresses: School of Business, Economics and IT, University West, 461-86 Trollhättan, Sweden ' School of Business, Economics and IT, University West, 461-86 Trollhättan, Sweden

Abstract: This study explores women entrepreneurs' participation in networks with focus on local community collaboration. Using case study methodology with 14 qualitative interviews in two phases with business counsellors and women entrepreneurs, participatory observations and document studies, this study explores women entrepreneurs in smaller cities in Sweden and their collaboration in networks. Results state that women entrepreneurs participate in various local community networks and that networks are viewed as valuable assets for business development. Women entrepreneurs strategically choose to join strong networks that have an impact on local community development. Challenges faced are mainly related to the role as entrepreneur and running a business in a smaller city. However, some specific gendered challenges are lack of trust or respect from other business and public actors, especially in contact with authorities. The main sources for renewal processes and knowledge sharing are co-owners, staff, digital tools, networks partners, families and friends.

Keywords: network collaboration; women entrepreneurs; local and regional; digital; innovation; tourism; Sweden.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2020.111578

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2020 Vol.41 No.4, pp.539 - 561

Received: 11 Apr 2018
Accepted: 29 Oct 2018

Published online: 25 Nov 2020 *

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