Gender and the Growth and the Dynamics of Microenterprises

How can women entrepreneurs participate in regional and national growth processes?

This paper aims to integrate gender concerns into the growth and dynamics research agenda developed by Michigan State University (MSU). The paper:

  • Establishes the importance of gender variables to micro-enterprise development;
  • Explores contradictions between 'women in development' (WID) and growth-oriented approaches to development;
  • Builds on these contradictions to propose a strategy that bridges the two approaches. The strategy includes:
    • Support for women's enterprises in sub-sectors that have few prospects of growth;
    • Identification of interventions associated with viable sub-sectors in which women predominate;
    • Promotion of interventions that facilitate the transition of female entrepreneurs out of low-return, low-potential sub-sectors into high-return, high-potential ones.

It states that the implementation of this strategy will require the economic analyses of MSU research and gender analysis that will bring together behavioral and entrepreneurial concerns with the enterprise-focused analyses of MSU. The paper recommends an understanding of:

  • Motivating factors for male and females entrepreneurs to adopt a growth-orientation;
  • The lateral growth pattern of female entrepreneurs;
  • Rural entrepreneurs' strategy of diversifying economic activities in order to maintain income and attain growth.

It proposes a model of the dynamics of entrepreneurial behavior that also serves as a framework for examining different patterns of growth. Finally, the author concludes with a presentation of hypotheses and corollary research questions as well as a discussion of policy implications.

About this Publication

By Downing, J.