Eljamel, Samya Ibrahim (2022) The role of women in establishing and developing small business projects, and their participation in the development process: A field study of a group of small business projects in Libya. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Small business projects are an important aspect of the structure of the Libyan economy. It has recently appeared that there is a real trend towards economic reform and diversification of income sources, apart from the main source of income which is oil. Using human capital theory, this study aims to identify the role played by Libyan women in establishing and developing small businesses and the extent to which such projects contribute to supporting the development process. It highlights the impact of culture and religion as main barriers to Libyan women starting their own businesses.

This study uses mixed methods. Ninety-five Libyan female business owners participated in the questionnaire. The results show that there is a lack of follow-up from the financing authorities. There were difficulties and challenges in relation to training, internal and external competition, professional technological management, and materials.

Participants in qualitative research state that the main reasons for choosing to run their own businesses are that they give them the opportunity to show their inventions, express their ideas, and display their talents. Some believe that small business projects in Libya enable them to gain access to international markets, owing to their relative advantage and unique traditional peculiarity.

Concerning obstacles Libyan women face when establishing their small business projects, participants declare that the obstacles were mainly financial, cultural, there is also a lack of government support and weak infrastructure in all Libyan cities. Women believe that the opportunities to engage in business are enough and available for Libyan women but it needs more care and attention from the competent authorities.

This study contributed to the literature through the justification of the phenomenon and the ability to overcome the limitation that women face when starting their own businesses. Moreover, it also fills part of the gap in the literature by identifying the types of small business projects within the Libyan economic sectors that are either neglected or conflated in previous studies. The study has specific implications for researchers and practitioners.

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