Title: Female self-employment among the Kleine Gemeinde in the Mennonite settlement of Blue Creek, Northern Belize

Authors: Carel Roessingh; Margot Nuijten

Addresses: Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Organisation Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, Room N-312 (Metropolitan Building), 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ' Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Organisation Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, Room N-312 (Metropolitan Building), 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: This study explores the underexposed possibilities of starting and running a business by Mennonite women in the Kleine Gemeinde community of Blue Creek, Belize. The paper is the result of ethnographic fieldwork research combined with a literature study. We address the changing role of Kleine Gemeinde women in the Mennonite settlement of Blue Creek in Northern Belize, Central America. This Mennonite settlement has its roots in Canada. The labour system of the Mennonites enterprises is mainly organised independently from the general Belizean labour system with the help of their Canadian families. Mennonite women have gained a pivotal position in this independent system over the past years. Traditionally, Mennonite women stay at home to work in the domestic sphere. In recent years however, their role has changed and some women has started small enterprises at their home. In this article a description of two of these women of the Kleine Gemeinde church in Blue Creek will be presented. Mennonite female entrepreneurship in Blue Creek in Northern Belize is constructed on three principles, first their motivation to be an entrepreneur is symmetrical connected with the notion of mompreneurship, secondly they are basically self-employed and thirdly their way of doing business is strongly embedded in their religious-cultural environment. Future research might examine the ways in which these Mennonite women contribute to the notion of business possibilities through self-employment and entrepreneurial activities.

Keywords: Mennonites; female entrepreneurship; self-employment; mompreneurship; Belize; women entrepreneurs; ethnography; motivation; religion; culture; entrepreneurial activities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2012.046472

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.15 No.4, pp.397 - 410

Published online: 09 Apr 2012 *

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