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Title: (Peeking out from behind the veil) : female entrepreneurial networking process : an exploratory study of women entrepreneurs in the context of Saudi Arabia
Author: Abdelmegeed, Nadia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 9975
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2015
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Entrepreneurs use their network tools to access resources and information vital to the business’s survival. Despite a vast amount of research not all topics have been explored in this area, especially regarding women entrepreneurs and their networking activities, more specifically women entrepreneurs in the Arab context. With respect to this, it is necessary to recognize and to explore how women entrepreneurs get access to monetary and non-monetary resources (e.g. capital, employees, information, and customers) to execute their business practices and activities. Gender inequality exists in the entrepreneurial market; especially in developing countries. It has been noticed that in all industrial sectors, women tend to run and manage less firms than their male counterparts. The motive behind this study is to bridge the gender gap, inequality, and inequity in entrepreneurship in the Middle East region, in particular in Saudi Arabia. This is to be achieved by giving the floor to the silenced women to tell their stories. Eleven Saudi women entrepreneurs have been narratively interviewed in order to learn from their experiences, their networking interactions and activities. The study investigates the factors that influence their entrepreneurial network, the intersection between their gender identities and other dimensions of the social divisions such as religion, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic class, the problems they faced during the establishment of their businesses and the strategies that they have employed to overcome those problems. Based upon the collected narratives and using thematic and structural analysis approach, five emergent themes affirm that entrepreneurial networks of women in Saudi Arabia is profoundly based on family members and widely affected by their social-cultural context. The intersection between their gender identity and the other social structural dimensions, e. g. Religion, class and tribal culture, in their daily life brings the complexity to their entrepreneurship, networking and resources acquisition. Gender segregation, social perceptions of women, severe traditions and rules, they all work as network constraints. As a result, many Saudi women have failed to run their business effectively and they have suffered from their networking abilities due to gender inequality in the Saudi culture and society. However, some Saudi women have privileged from new technology and online social networking websites as means to interact with and form new contacts as well as to expand their business ventures to reach new markets. However, other forms of entrepreneurial networking like funding and loans are not very common as female entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia heavily depend on their families for monetary support. Nevertheless in addition to common resources that are required by any entrepreneurs, there is a different type of resources rather than finance that is necessary for them to start up and run their business and this will be provided by their networks. The findings of the study suggest that growing numbers of women in Saudi Arabia, who are actively challenging the status, governmental reforms and social-cultural changes, urgently require the promotion of women entrepreneurship as being affected by the economy and social aspiration of the country. Thus, the policy makers should take a more strategic approach on a national and international level to empower the Saudi women entrepreneurs and to strengthen their role in Saudi Arabia and provide ample entrepreneurial networking platforms for these women.
Supervisor: Gourlay, Stephen ; Daskalaki, Maria Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business and management studies