Getting Down to Business and Off Welfare: Rural Women Entrepreneurs

This article reports on a grounded theory study that explored the experiences that influenced 17 rural, low-income women to choose sole business ownership as a strategy for becoming economically self-sufficient. Constant comparative analysis revealed two experiences that were common to all the women: intensely personal and negative responses to the receipt of welfare, and long-held entrepreneurial self-identification. Two separate constellations of experiences also emerged: the experiences of over two-thirds of the women that were distal to the entrepreneurial decision and the experiences of the remaining women that were proximal to the decision.

The author concludes that the findings support those of urban welfare-to-work programs in that the meaning of economic self-sufficiency for welfare recipients seems to be related to obtaining work that reflects personal values.

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AFFILIA: Journal of Women and Social Work