Being taken seriously: shaping the pathways taken by Welsh female entrepreneurs

Christine Atkinson, Celia Netana, David Pickernell, Zoe Dann

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    Despite rapid growth in female entrepreneurship globally, the gender gap in self-employment remains and women’s full contribution to the economy via self-employment continues to be unrealized. Female self-employment is an important agenda given current political interest and policy focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) revitalizing the Welsh economy. This paper explores pathways taken by women in Wales at start-up and whilst running their own businesses. Using a phenomenological approach employing narrative techniques and business life histories, a grounded account is provided of entrepreneurial practice from perceptions of female entrepreneurs. In their sense making, female entrepreneurs convey how lack of credibility (in terms of ‘not being taken seriously’) and consequently the pursuit of attaining a level of credibility (which is frequently elusive anyway), strongly shapes business decisions and entrepreneurial experiences. This consequence occurs regardless of levels of educational achievement, previous work experience or industry sector, thereby adding a subliminal layer of complexity to business decisions and strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-148
    JournalSmall Enterprise Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017


    • Gender
    • inequality
    • Wales
    • entrepreneurial capital
    • women
    • credibility
    • being taken seriously


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