Urbani izziv Volume 23, No. supplement, July 2012
Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Family Friendly Entrepreneurship: New Business Formation in Family Spaces
Seventy three per cent of UK enterprises have no employees and seventeen per cent of these are managed solely by women (GEM UK Data 2005). UK female entrepreneurship is thus a significant economic phenomenon and it is increasing, especially in rural areas. Suggestions are that women’s businesses are different to men’s (Ahl 2006, Hanson 2003, Hanson and Blake 2004) in terms of their nature, location, type and the way that business is done. Limited empirical investigation has been undertaken, especially within geography (Hanson 2003). In addition, it has been argued that women’s participation in self-employment generally, is under-theorised (Blake, 2006; Ahl, 2006; Lewis 2006). Buzar et al (2005) identify the need to consider within this, the social construction of gender, time, space, economy and culture. This paper aims to advance knowledge and understanding of both the characteristics of female businesses and the coordinates and circumstances of female entrepreneurship. This paper will investigate the nature, dynamics, networks and locations of the new businesses (started up within the past five years) of thirty women entrepreneurs all of whom are mothers and most of whom work at home. Two different types of new work/economic space will be examined. The first, the work locations of this economic activity, are a key defining feature of these businesses – they are typically the kitchens, bedroom and garages of the entrepreneurs’ family homes within the spaces of family life. An understanding of such enterprises is assisted by adopting a household-level, work-life reconciliation perspective (Jarvis 2005, Moen and Sweet 2004). The second new economic space reported in this paper will be the typical spaces of networking and marketing which often take place in electronic space, particularly the social networking sites (and especially female social and business networking, and mothers’ networking internet sites that have become so popular in the past five years or so. Thus this paper will focus on new spaces of work and new ways of doing business.
women entrepreneurship, business location, spaces of networking