How the entrepreneurial process can drive women empowerment: A case study of women self-help groups in India

Maja Schakenda Kaldahl

Student thesis: Master thesis


guide the literature on empowerment towards the literature of entrepreneurship in subsistence contexts including how individuals initially engage in entrepreneurship - moving from entrepreneurial intentions to actions - and how individuals navigate the entrepreneurial process. Finally, assess if achievements of empowerment occurred along this process. In investigating this, a three-month qualitative field study has been conducted in West Bengal, India with five women SHGs, located in Kolkata and in the rural area of Sundarbans. 22 interviews were conducted, 11 workshops with the women were accomplished, an observation diary was made and more than 200 photos taken. Five case stories revolving around these women SHGs are presented and drawing on the empirical findings and analysis hereof, numerous insights were revealed. Leading to the entrepreneurial actions, occurring along the entrepreneurial process and in the securement of empowerment – all were linked to the women’s aspirations, individually and as a group. Firstly, the women SHGs moved from the entrepreneurial intention to actions based on their capacity to aspire and their resources available to. Secondly, the women navigated the entrepreneurial process with the use of levels of aspirations adapting and changing to the situation along the process. Finally, indication of women empowerment became apparent, not only in the economic dimensions, but in their cultural and social well being, along with significant positive influence in their immediate communities. The thesis concludes that the entrepreneurial process can drive women empowerment with the use of aspirations, and the term aspirational entrepreneurship is presented where the women use their aspirations in starting the business and navigating the entrepreneurial process with a long-term commitment and aspirational resilience. This has implication on future research and practice of poverty alleviation, which have to recognise the importance of the women’s aspirations, in order to understand the context of the women, their motives behind engaging in entrepreneurship and how the women navigate the entrepreneurial process - thus creating actual significant change and empowerment for women in all its dimensions.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages162