Atsede T. Hailemariam and Brigitte Kroon explore the meaning of success for female Ethiopian entrepreneurs. Taking a contextually embedded approach using qualitative data and considering structural, familial and cultural constraints, the authors challenge the notion of the underperformance of women entrepreneurs by highlighting how various female entrepreneurs define success. They explain that women entrepreneurs evaluate success in business both in financial and non-financial terms. While some women entrepreneurs define success as achieving self-fulfilment and in terms of their contribution to society and family, others emphasize communal and religious values in their definition of success. It tends to be the young, educated females and those who have experience and operate more than one business or engage in male-dominated sectors who define their success in terms of profit and growth. The implication for policy-makers relates to the need to pay more attention to the heterogeneity of women entrepreneurs and to non-financial measures of performance as they design policy and support programs to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is conducive to entrepreneurship.
Atsede T. Hailemariam and Brigitte Kroon
Atsede T. Hailemariam, Brigitte Kroon and Marc van Veldhoven
Women entrepreneurs in developing countries such as Ethiopia are often stereotyped as necessity-based entrepreneurs operating in the informal sector of the economy. However, there are women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia who form and develop ventures by their own choice in the formal sector of the economy. Moreover, motivation literature suggests that motivation can develop and change overtime. In this study, self-determination theory (SDT) is used as a guiding framework for improved understanding of motivation to form and develop a venture, with a special interest in how motivation changes in relation to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Interviews with 18 women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia operating businesses in the formal sector identified autonomously motivated and controlled-motivated women entrepreneurs proposed by SDT. The findings also highlight how the type of motivation changes over time. According to SDT, autonomous motivation and motivational change overtime happen when all basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are satisfied. The link of satisfaction of these psychological needs with entrepreneurial ecosystem providing clues for policy making and women entrepreneurship development interventions are discussed.