Against all Odds: A Study of Women Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, and Cultural Practices

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


This research investigates the business challenges of woman entrepreneurs. Research has shown that women entrepreneurs face several significant barriers. These include cultural attitudes, lack of access to capital and networks and not least work-life balance. Traditional cultural attitudes often view women as being responsible for caring for the family and home, which can make it difficult for them to pursue entrepreneurial careers (Jennings & Brush, 2013). This research investigates how women entrepreneurs despite the above challenges can leverage new opportunities in the circular economy. The case studies include a Danish start-up, which upscales spent grain from beer production to fiber rich flour, a company from Senegal, which produces natural products for afro hair and a Japanese firm, which upcycles apple peels to natural leather. Qualitative studies of entrepreneurs are still scarce across cultures due to the challenge of contextual knowledge, culture and language (Nummela & Welch, 2006: 134). This research employs the ethnographic method of observation and interviews to document the dreams and drivers as
well as the work-life realities of the three women founders. It thus provides exemplary cases of successful women who aspire to contribute to a more sustainable society. It was found that these women engage with the United Nations development goals in their business activities. They ambitiously create business and prosperity in their local communities, practice diversity and inclusion and treat nature respectfully in their companies’ production practices.
References: Jennings, J. E., & Brush, C. G. 2013. Research on Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges to (and from) the Broader Entrepreneurship Literature? The Academy of Management Annals, 7(1): 663–715. Nummela, N., & Welch, C. 2006. Qualitative research methods in international entrepreneurship: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 4(4): 133–136.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe 38th (2023) Annual Conference of SIETAR Japan: Sustainable Multicultural Societies: Eliminating Disparities - National Olympic Memorial Youth Center, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 11 Nov 202311 Nov 2023
Conference number: 38


ConferenceThe 38th (2023) Annual Conference of SIETAR Japan
LocationNational Olympic Memorial Youth Center
Internet address

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