Title: Rural female entrepreneurs: rational choices and socio-economic development

Authors: Izzy Warren-Smith

Addresses: Harper Adams University College, Egmond, Shropshire, TF10 8NB, UK

Abstract: This research paper questions the efficacy of some of the measurements applied to the contribution of female led rural enterprises (FLREs) when matched against the family, social and community contributions of the owners. It explores the Becker's (1993) typically neo-classical approach, to measurement which is diametrically opposed to Granovetter's (1985) socio-economic stance. Questionnaire responses (n.559) were received and analysed examining the economic, social and community make up of FLREs. Many of the enterprises were what would be considered lifestyle businesses in terms of turnover. However, in terms of community sustainability their contribution was significant. The paper then goes on challenge the prevailing perception of the value and contribution of both the rural (lifestyle) and the growth enterprise and offers data to better inform policy for economic development and business support for female led enterprises in rural areas.

Keywords: female led enterprises; rural enterprises; gender; farming; farms; female entrepreneurs; rational choices; socio-economic development; family contributions; social contributions; community contributions; business owners; families; neo-classical approaches; Gary Becker; Mark Granovetter; lifestyle businesses; turnover; community sustainability; communities; growth enterprise; economic development; business support; rural areas; Women in Rural Enterprise; UK; United Kingdom; WiRE; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurship research; Europe.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2012.049581

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.17 No.3, pp.338 - 354

Available online: 09 Oct 2012 *

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