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Title: Women Entrepreneurs : A Study of Fashion Designers of Great Britain
Author: Booth, Gayle J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 910X
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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Women represent around 30% of Great Britain's entrepreneurs. They constitute a dynamic and substantial force in the economy. Their rate of participation as entrepreneurs is significantly lower than that of men. Previous research has sought to understand the experiences of women entrepreneurs in order to explain this under representation. However, much of this work has consulted with women as entrepreneurs which own businesses across a variety of industries. Research into defined industries is limited and research on fashion designers specifically is virtually non-existent. This pioneering study bridges the academic fields of entrepreneurship and fashion design, exploring the experiences of British women entrepreneurs as designers in the fashion industry. The study pursued four important themes: development of the profiles of British women entrepreneurs as designers in the fashion industry; determination of their home and work past and current responsibilities; identification of the barriers encountered in childhood, education, professional and business development; and exploration of the impact of gender on their experiences as designers in the fashion industry. The methodology of the study employed in depth interviews with 30 women entrepreneurs of Great Britain who are/were fashion designers. The sample included those who were in early, mid, established and post business. The interviews were carried out face to face and over the telephone. Qualitative analysis of the data focused on exploring the differences and similarities of women entrepreneurs' experiences. The fmdings suggest that social, industrial and economic factors appear to marginalise British fashion designers from growing their business substantially and that they had encountered negative attitudes based on their gender. However, the entrepreneurs were found to turn such experiences into positive outcomes with many of them growing international labels playing important roles in a matrix of industries and the economy. Manufacturing and accessing fmance were the two main challenges faced. The research focus spanned the life course trajectory revealing how coping with adverse circumstances also increased an awareness of ethical business considerations. They possessed elements of social entrepreneurship that were paramount to business through design and/or philanthropic activities. On work and home responsibilities, 43% were childless the remainder revealed feelings of stress and grief due to separation from children. As children, they acted in non-traditional ways which were embraced by their fathers, whereas mothers tended to push their daughters into education. Paternal grandmothers were revealed to be entrepreneurs. Recommendations are made for individuals and organisations of ways in which the potential of British women fashion designer entrepreneurs could improve. The limitations of the study and implications for future research are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available